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NATO chief warns of ‘dangerous moment for European security’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Thursday that the European community finds itself at a perilous crossroads as Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border.

“This is a dangerous moment for European security,” Stoltenberg said during a press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “The number of Russian forces is going up. The warning time for a possible attack is going down.”

“Russia has a choice: They can either choose a diplomatic solution — and we’re ready to sit down — but if they choose confrontation, they will pay a higher price,” he added.

“There will be economic sanctions. There will be an increased NATO military presence in the eastern part of the alliance, and the U.K. is really an important part of that,” Stoltenberg went on, added that “renewed Russian aggression will lead to more NATO presence, not less.”

Johnson echoed Stoltenberg’s sentiments about the danger of a possible attack from Moscow.

“This is probably the most dangerous moment, I would say, in the course of the next few days, in what is the biggest security crisis that Europe has faced for decades, and we’ve got to get it right,” the prime minister said. “And I think that the combination of sanctions and military resolve, plus diplomacy, is what is in order.”

Moscow denies that it intends to invade Ukraine, even as it has more than 100,000 troops at their shared border. The Kremlin also has about 30,000 troops in Belarus, where it is conducting military exercises for the next 10 days. 

The Russian Ministry of Defense said those drills are intended to “work out the tasks of suppressing and repelling external aggression while conducting a defensive operation, countering terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State.”

Tags Belarus Boris Johnson Jens Stoltenberg Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Russia-Ukraine relations Russia–NATO relations Ukraine Ukraine-Russia border Ukraine-Russia conflict

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