China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned NATO against adding new members and expanding further east.

The alliance is a product of the Cold War, and that's long over, said Wang, addressing participants at the Munich Security Conference via video on Saturday.

In the event of an enlargement, NATO would have to ask itself whether this would result in greater security for Europe.

Ukraine is aiming to join NATO, but the topic is currently not on the Alliance's agenda. 

Lorenz Hemicker

Editor in Politics

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Facing the Ukraine crisis, Wang called on all countries to take responsibility and work for a peaceful solution.

Sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of every country should be protected, Ukraine is no exception.

The country should be “a bridge connecting West and East and not a front line.

He hoped that a solution could be found based on dialogue and consultation. 

The United States, Germany, the EU and NATO earlier on Saturday morning warned Russia against an attack on Ukraine.

"The foundation of European security is under direct threat," said America's Vice President Kamala Harris at the Munich Security Conference.

There is a "playbook" of Russian aggression in view of the Russian troop deployment and the recent provocations, "and we are all all too familiar with it." Harris assured the European NATO partners of Washington's solidarity in the face of the Russian threat on NATO's eastern flank .

"America's commitment to Article 5 is unwavering," said the Vice President.

Every inch of Alliance territory will be defended. 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also pointed out the danger of a conflict.

"War is looming in Europe and the risk is far from over," he said.

Behind it are currently even the fight against the corona virus and against climate change.

Germany is still ready, he summarized the demands of the federal government in the motto: "As much diplomacy as possible without being naive."

At the beginning of the second day of the conference, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she still hoped that peace would prevail.

But Europe is ready to answer.

If Russia attacks, it will have high costs.

Europe has put together a robust package of sanctions.

Even in the event that Russia suspends gas supplies, the continent is on the safe side.

Europe will get through the winter.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said afterwards that there was still no evidence of a withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine.

On the contrary, the march will continue.

NATO is trying to make military operations more difficult for the Kremlin by being open about their information about the Russian troop deployment.

"We don't know what will happen, but the risk of war is real," said Stoltenberg, who was awarded the Ewald von Kleist Prize at the Security Conference in Munich on Saturday.

Moscow is trying to turn back history and expand its sphere of influence again.

But it is not too late for Russia to change course.

NATO has presented a substantial agenda.

Stoltenberg expressed concern that China was now also asking NATO not to accept any more members.

He rejected the request.

Violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine

Sovereign states can decide for themselves what alliance they want; this will not be left to other authoritarian states.

"If Russia wants less NATO on its borders, it will get more NATO.

If it wants to split NATO, it will get a more united NATO," Stoltenberg said.

The indications of an imminent Russian attack had increased at the start of the second day of the security conference.

The Ukrainian armed forces reported numerous violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, and several explosions were heard in the north of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, the causes of which initially remained unclear.

The rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine announced a general military mobilization on Saturday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj will fly straight back to Kiev after his appearance at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday afternoon.

Before that, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will appear in Munich.