The only way out of the current crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is to help Ukraine win the war, said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo before the NATO summit in Madrid.
While the economic sanctions against Russia are weighing heavily on the country, they also hit "our own people" hard, De Croo said, adding that Russia is "unleashing a real energy war."
"The best way to end this is to help Ukraine win this war. We have no other choice," he said, adding that Belgium has already made deliveries of military equipment to Ukraine, and will continue to do so.
"I myself also prefer diplomacy and consultation through diplomats, but someone has to be sitting opposite you for that to work. Now, we are talking to a wall," De Croo emphasised, adding that it is up to Ukraine "to decide when they will sit down at the negotiating table."
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Upon his arrival in Madrid on Tuesday evening, he made it clear that the NATO summit, before it had even started, already was a success for him. "With the fact that Sweden and Finland are joining, this is going to make the European continent safer, but is also going to make NATO a more robust, stronger partner."
In a video statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday morning, De Croo stated that, at a time of war in Europe, the NATO summit is a "historic" one. "This is about our security. This is about making sure that we protect our way of life in Europe in a free and open society where we can live safely."
He emphasised that "in today's world, it is a good thing to have good friends," stating that NATO is such a group of 30 countries committed to protecting each other. "To protect us from this Russian aggression that we see today in Ukraine, and also to help the Ukrainians as best we can in a war that they are fighting for our values of democracy, openness and respect for each other."
Belgium is "a staunch ally of NATO," which in recent weeks has shown that it is a united front, De Croo added. "That is the main message here in Madrid: great unity to completely protect our way of life."