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Nato chief: Finland, Sweden joining together not the primary concern

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there are no indications the Kremlin is preparing for peace.

Jens Stoltenberg i mörk kostym står och talar med journalister. I förgrunden syns mikrofoner. Han tittar åt sidan.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Image: EPA-EFE/Stephanie Lecocq
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Finland and Sweden joining Nato together is not the main priority, but rather that they are ratified as full members as soon as possible, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Tuesday.

"I'm confident that they both will be full members, and we are working hard to get both ratified as soon as possible," Stoltenberg said at a Nato Ministers of Defence meeting in Brussels.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commenting in Brussels on Tuesday.

The Nato chief also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was planning new attacks in Ukraine, adding that the military alliance would continue to support Ukraine in the conflict.

Stoltenberg noted that Nato has not seen indications that Russia was preparing for peace, but rather preparing to increase its military assault on Ukraine.

On Monday Nato announced that it is increasing ammunition stockpile targets for Ukraine, according to news service Reuters.

"The current rate of Ukraine's ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production," Stoltenberg said on Monday, Reuters reported, adding that Ukrainian troops are using up to 10,000 artillery shells per day, a situation which has depleted Western stockpiles.

Nordic meeting next week

Meanwhile, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is headed to Sweden to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre next week, on Wednesday 22 February.

Discussions will focus on security policy issues, cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway and their support for Ukraine, according to Finland's Office of the President.

Niinistö will lead a delegation that includes Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) and interim Minister of Defence Mikko Savola (Cen). Swedish and Norwegian ministers are also scheduled to attend.

According to the president's office, the meeting is a continuation of "intensified contacts" between Finland, Sweden and Norway that were initiated by Niinistö in 2019.

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