European Commission President Says World Watches ‘In Disbelief’ Amid Largest Troop Buildup Since Cold War
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the world was “watching in disbelief” at Europe’s largest troop buildup since “the darkest days of the Cold War”.
“The reason the European Union was formed is because we want to end all European wars,” von der Leyen said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
“The world has watched in disbelief as we face the largest troop buildup on European soil since the darkest days of the Cold War,” von der Leyen continued.
He added that the event “could reshape the entire international order.”
Highlighting the recent 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, von der Leyen said there is a whole generation of Ukrainians born and raised in a free country who now “face aggression and external interference on a daily basis.”
“This is what the Kremlin’s policy is in practice, instilling fear and calling it security, necessitating the denial of 44 million Ukrainians to freely decide their own future, denying the right of a free state to independence and self-determination,” he added.
“The consequences of this approach extend far beyond Ukraine.”
Speaking of Russia and China, von der Leyen said: “They are looking for a new era, as they say, to replace existing international rules.”
“They prefer rule by the strongest over the rule of law, intimidation and self-determination, coercion over cooperation.”
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Moscow was trying to turn back history and re-create its sphere of influence.
“The current crisis demonstrates the importance of transatlantic relations for European security,” Stoltenberg said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
“If the Kremlin’s goal is to have less NATO on its borders, it will only gain more NATO and if it wants to violate it, it will always get a more united alliance,” said Stoltenberg, who stated earlier that NATO is a defensive alliance. and “will take all necessary measures” to protect and defend.
“In recent years, our security environment has fundamentally changed for the worse. Peace cannot be taken for granted. Freedom and democracy are competitive, and strategic competition is on the rise.”
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