Stoltenberg: The situations in Gaza and Ukraine are different, Ukraine has never attacked Russia

Jens Stoltenberg / Photo EPA-EFE / SHAWN THEW / POOL

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, responding to accusations of Western double standards, said today that international law must be applied in all conflicts, but the wars in Ukraine and Gaza are very different.

Arab leaders have accused Western countries of not applying the same standards to Israel's war in Gaza, launched in response to a deadly attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, as they have applied to Russia's war in Ukraine.

Asked about this issue, Stoltenberg said: "My message is that international law, humanitarian law, must be respected in all conflicts and the lives of civilians must always be protected."

Speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of the transatlantic military alliance in Brussels, Stoltenberg said it was also "important to recognize that the situation in Gaza and the situation in Ukraine are different in many ways."

"Ukraine has never been a threat to Russia, Ukraine has never attacked Russia," he said.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine was an unprovoked invasion, a full-scale invasion, of another country," he added.

"So, of course, Ukraine has the right to self-defense against an unprovoked attack and to uphold territorial integrity."

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