NATO chief: Allies combat Russian hybrid attacks with intelligence, more support for Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies are increasing intelligence sharing to combat Russian sabotage on their territory, following reports that U.S. and German intelligence had foiled an assassination plot against the CEO of a German manufacturing company producing munitions for Ukraine.

Stoltenberg did not comment directly on CNN reporting about the assassination plot, but said it fits into a pattern of a Russian campaign, “organized by their security services to conduct hostile actions against NATO allies.”

“We have seen arrests across the alliance, in the U.K., in Germany, in Poland and the Baltic countries, following these hostile actions and of course there’s ongoing legal processes, and what NATO does is also to increase intelligence sharing to help allies to protect against these actions,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Yes, we see a Russian attempt to intimidate us from providing support, but we see that— if anything — it has the opposite effect on NATO allies, they are actually stepping up their support for Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg’s remarks came on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington and following the alliance issuing a joint communique laying out new military and financial support for Ukraine, and a commitment that Kyiv is on an “irreversible” path to the alliance.

“We are close to our goal, I think next step will be invitation and next step will be membership,” Zelensky said.

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, opposes Kyiv moving closer to Europe and eventually joining NATO.

Allied members in Europe have raised the alarm that Russia is directing an increase in provocative actions across territories, pointing to cyberattacks, arson, sabotage and violence.

The alliance’s joint communique, issued Wednesday, identifies Russia as having “intensified its aggressive hybrid actions” and tasking the alliance to “develop recommendations on NATO’s strategic approach to Russia.”

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