Russia uses energy as weapon, diversifying suppliers a must: NATO chief

At same time, we must not swap one dependency for another, says Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia uses energy as weapon, diversifying suppliers a must: NATO chief

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the alliance must diversify its energy suppliers as Russia uses energy "as a weapon."

"The war in Ukraine shows the danger of being too dependent on commodities from authoritarian regimes. The way Russia is using energy as a weapon of coercion highlights the need to quickly wean off Russian oil and gas," Stoltenberg told NATO Public Forum during the High-Level Dialogue on Climate and Security.

"At the same time, we must not swap one dependency for another. Lots of new green technologies and the air and earth minerals they require come from China. So we must diversify our energy sources and our suppliers," he added.

"We have seen Russia uses energy as a weapon. But we must not let ourselves become dependent on others. Lots of energy resources come from China. That's why we must diversify our suppliers."

Noting that NATO should trade with China, he said the alliance has to be aware of the same risks of heavy dependence.

Russia's war in Ukraine

Regarding the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, Stoltenberg said: "It is in our interest to support Ukraine. We support Ukraine partly because they are a close partner we have worked with for many years, but also because... the world of NATO allies will be more insecure if Putin wins this war."

"So it's our security interest to make sure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation," he added.

About grain import blockage that causes high food prices worldwide, he said that the reason for the problem is not NATO sanctions against Russia, but it is because ongoing Russian war.

"There are no sanctions from NATO allies against exports of grain," he said. "So the reason why it's hard to get grain out of Ukraine, food out to Ukraine is the war, is the Russian blockade."

The NATO chief also expressed "disappointment" about China as the country failed to condemn the Russian war, saying Russia and China are "closer than before."

"We are disappointed by the fact that China has not been able to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that China is spreading many of the false narratives about NATO, the West. And also that China and Russia are more close now than they've ever been before," he said.

NATO bids of Finland, Sweden

Calling the decisions by Finland and Sweden to apply for membership "historic," Stoltenberg said: "We need to ensure that when new allies or new countries join the alliance, we have to take into account the security interests of all allies.

"Türkiye has expressed some serious concerns on issues like terrorism, and we all know that no NATO ally has suffered more types of attacks than Türkiye. Thousands of people have been killed. And PKK and other groups are responsible for these types of attacks and PKK is a terrorist organization," he said, noting that the PKK is not only recognized as a terror group by NATO allies but the EU, Sweden, and Finland as well.

Referring to the four-way talks between Türkiye, NATO, Finland, and Sweden, he said that they will sit down with Türkiye to discuss how they can step up, do more together, and fight terrorism.

"It's an issue that is absolutely legitimate and important as part of the accession process we now dialogue, we now have Finland, Sweden," he added.

"I will not promise anything. I can only tell you that I have spoken several times with President Erdogan, with the Finnish president and Swedish prime minister and I hope that we can make some progress."

Hüseyin Demir

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