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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as part of the Administration's continuing effort to strengthen NATO.
The Secretary thanked Secretary General Stoltenberg for his steady leadership of the Alliance and his efforts to keep NATO strong militarily, make it stronger politically, and give it a more global view, particularly during this period of Russia's ongoing, unprovoked military build-up in and around Ukraine.  The leaders discussed recent diplomatic engagements with Russia and the need for Russia to de-escalate.

Secretary Austin and Secretary General Stoltenberg also exchanged views on the importance of maintaining strong deterrence and defense and emphasized that Russia's actions will ultimately achieve the opposite of their intended effect – a stronger and more unified NATO Alliance, postured to deter and defend against aggression along NATO's Eastern flank.  
Secretary Austin assured Secretary General Stoltenberg of the United States' continuing commitment to the Alliance.  Both reaffirmed that NATO is the essential forum for consultation, decision, and action on transatlantic security and defense issues in an increasingly dangerous and competitive world.
The Secretary and Secretary General focused on preparing for this week's NATO Defense ministerial and continuing the Alliance's military adaptation and progress on responsibility sharing as Allies look forward to the 2022 Summit in Madrid.