tv NATO Secretary General Update on Russia- Ukraine CSPAN February 16, 2022 11:56am-12:09pm EST
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comments came during a news conference at the headquarters in brussels belgium. it is about 10 minutes. >> good morning. nato defense ministers will meet today and tomorrow, facing critical challenges for the european security. we have heard signs from moscow about the president committing to dip a medic efforts, and so far, we have not seen any de-escalation of the ground or the country as russia continues its military buildup. we are not receiving any response to our written document or written proposals that we sent to russia on the sixth of january, outlining that we are ready to sit down.
to discuss to find a political path forward. we will continue to convey -- we are ready to sit down, and discuss with them. at the same time, we are prepared for the worst. if russia once again invades the ukraine, they will pay high price. and we will continue to expose them to make it hard for them to conduct aggressive actions against the ukraine. we believe that russia holds engaged in meaningful dialogue to diplomacy instead of confrontation. we are ready to sit down and find a political solution.
>> bbc. russia has said that it is moving its forces to withdraw. are you essentially saying that you do not believe them? the second question is, you have expressed cautious optimism on a diplomatic track. given the situation, things do not seem to have changed. why do you have optimism? >> i think the message shows that we have heard from moscow as of yesterday. it provides some grounds for cautious optimism because that was a message about diplomacy, and we have been ready for a diplomatic effort and talks throughout the crisis. we have stated that again and again. we are ready with proposals to russell -- russia, and we are grateful for their response. at the same time, we have not seen any withdrawal of russian forces.
of course, that contradicts a of diplomatic efforts. it remains to be seen whether there is russian withdrawal. we are monitoring closely what russia does in and around ukraine. what we see is there is an increased number of troops and more troops are on their way. so far, no de-escalation. of course, we hear the message about diplomacy and are ready to engage in diplomatic efforts. let me add, there is a focus on the critical security situation in europe. we will meet with our partners from ukraine and georgia. that will be to address the
importance of integrity of all countries in europe, including georgia and ukraine. we will meet with sweden and european union and share a regular meeting with the nato nuclear planning group. >> mr. schultz yesterday said that ukraine -- it is said not to be on the table for the long-term future. >> my message is that this is for the allies to decide. russia is not deciding who will be a member of nato or not. this is a matter of principle that all allies have stated clearly again and again and about respecting the right of every nation in europe to choose their own path, whether they
want to belong to an organization like nato or if they do not want to belong to nato. finland and sweden, close partners of nato, they have also stated very clearly that nato cannot sign a legally binding agreement with russia where we say there will be no further -- this goes beyond ukraine. this is about ukraine and other nations in europe, about the principle for each nation to choose their own path. these are principles enshrined in the nato founding act and in the helsinki, principles that also russian has. >> could you elaborate what you just said? you have no evidence?
does that not mean any retreat? nato also strengthens the eastern flank, will discontinue if there is a de-escalation? >> so far, we are not seeing any russian de-escalation. we are closely monitoring and following what they are doing. if they really start to withdraw forces, that is something we will welcome. that remains to be seen. they have always moved forces back and forth. just as we see movement of forces, that does not confirm a real withdrawal. up and down, back and forth, all the way, the trend has been a steady increase in the russian
capabilities close to ukraine's borders. russia retains capability of full-fledged invasion of ukraine without any warning time. >> are you concerned it could be a tactical ploy for russia to have time to continue building up troops? >> we see a very strong russian situation at the border. we also see a message from moscow that they will give diplomacy a chance. we are ready to meet them to talk to find a diplomatic solution. also to prepare for the worst. we work hard for the best, a peaceful political solution, what we are prepared for the
worst if russia invades ukraine. >> to clarify the numbers, last night president biden said we are seeing 150,000 troops, you are talking about 100,000, there is a huge difference. which number is >> the right one? >>i have talked about well over 100,000, but there can be an increase. we are seeing that it goes up and up and up and continues to increase. the most important thing now is to closely monitor what russia does. we call on them to do what they say and that is to de-escalate, to withdraw forces, that would be their best contribution to reduce tensions and avoid any conflict in europe. we are monitoring closely what they are doing.
what we have seen several times in recent months is they move in with a high number of troops and heavy equipment, then they take most of the troops out again but the equipment stays. they can quickly send people back again and they have all the capabilities in place. what we need to see is a real withdrawal of forces, not that they move troops around. we are monitoring. we hope they will withdrawal forces and that will be the best contribution and a political solution. we believe this for cautious optimism because they have stated they would prefer a diplomatic solution. >> today a congressional panel looks at digital privacy and protecting consumer data. watch live coverage at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at
c-span.org or coverage on our free video app, c-span now. pres. biden: america is on the move again. >> tuesday, march 1, the state of the union. president biden addresses are joint session of congress and the nation, reflecting on his first year in office and laying out his agenda. the president speaks at 9:00, following by the republican response. we will take your phone calls and social media reaction. the state of the union address, live on tuesday, march 1 on c-span, c-span.org or the c-span video app. >> how can the u.s. protect its allies against russian aggression in eastern europe? the house oversight subcommittee heard testimony earlier today. you can watch it tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span, online at
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