Responding to pope, NATO boss says Ukraine needs weapons, not white flags

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 10:26 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg made clear on Monday that he disagreed with Pope Francis’s comments that Ukraine should have the “courage of the white flag” and negotiate an end to the war triggered by Russia’s invasion.

Asked about the pope’s remarks, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told Reuters: “If we want a negotiated peaceful lasting solution, the way to get there is to provide military support to Ukraine.”

In an interview at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “what happens around a negotiating table is inextricably linked to the strength on the battlefield”.

Asked if his reaction meant now was not the time to talk about a white flag, Stoltenberg said: “It’s not the time to talk about surrender by the Ukrainians. That will be a tragedy for the Ukrainians. It will also be dangerous for all of us.”

(Reporting by Andrew Gray; Editing by GV De Clercq)