NATO 'stands' with US on Russia sanctions

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (far left), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center), and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) hold a joint press conference on April 14, 2021 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. (Photo: AFP)
BRUSSELS, Belgium — NATO allies on Thursday backed the United States' decision to impose sanctions on Russia and expel its diplomats over what they said were Moscow's "destabilizing activities".اضافة اعلان

"NATO Allies support and stand in solidarity with the United States, following its April 15 announcement of actions to respond to Russia's destabilizing activities," the statement said. 

"Allies are taking actions individually and collectively to enhance the Alliance's collective security," it said. 

NATO members cited a "sustained pattern" of Russian behavior, from aggression against Ukraine to interference in the US presidential election and cyberattacks. 

"The United States and other allies assess that all available evidence points to the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the SolarWinds hack," the statement said. 

The alliance also condemned the nerve agent attack on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which it blames on Moscow, and said it was concerned by reports Russia had encouraged attacks against its troops in Afghanistan. 

"Allies will continue to work in close consultation to address Russia's actions, which constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security," the statement said. 

"We call on Russia to cease immediately its destabilizing behavior, and to uphold its international obligations."

The US announced economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyberattack, and other hostile activity.

President Joe Biden's executive order "sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilizing international action," the White House said.