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June 29, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez speaks at the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez speaks at the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday, June 28. (NATO Pool/Getty Images)

NATO has been “naive” in its relations with Russia over the years, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told CNN on Wednesday.

Speaking from the NATO summit in Madrid, Sánchez said that NATO is “sending a clear message to Putin, which is that we are going to support Ukraine, and we are ready to support Ukraine until the Russian troops leave the country and they respect the territorial integrity and the national sovereignty of Ukraine.” 

“I think it is important to send this message of unity and determination of the international community, especially NATO allies, and of course the G7, in order to make possible to return to a scenario where different countries – especially Russia in this case – respect a rules-based international order, which is undermined because of this terrible war in Ukraine,” Sánchez continued.

Reacting to Turkey’s agreement to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bid, Sánchez said that “the entrance of Finland and Sweden in NATO is not because they want to expand their territories but to defend their values, their democracies, and of course, an international order based on rules, clear rules, that provide certainty and security to our societies.”

Asked whether it was a mistake to consider Russia a “strategic partner” even in 2010, Sánchez said that at that time, NATO had “tried to give Russia and Putin an opportunity,” but that “perhaps, over the years, we’ve been a bit naive in our relations with Russia.” 

“Nowadays, we’re seeing expansionist and imperialism behavior by Putin and his regime, and this is something unacceptable,” he added. 

“I think it is important what we are now approving in this Madrid summit, which is to define Russia as a strategic threat for the allies, and define what are the means, the instruments that we are going to put in place in order to respond to this global threat,” Sánchez said.

Spain has sent 400 tons of “military capacities” as well as humanitarian aid to Ukraine, he added.

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