NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the transatlantic alliance is "ready to engage in political dialogue" but "also prepared for the worst — Russia once again using force against its neighbor, Ukraine."
Stoltenberg made the comments in a Friday interview with CBS News "Face the Nation" moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan. The interview with Stoltenberg comes as Russia reviews the United States' response to its demands amid the Russian military buildup near Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Biden spoke on the phone Thursday to address the situation, and Mr. Biden has been consulting with European allies.
Mr. Biden said at a press conference last week that it was his "guess" that Russia would invate Ukraine. Asked if Russian military force in Ukraine is imminent, Stoltenberg said there's "no certainty."
"Well, there's uncertainty about the Russian plans, and maybe they have not made any final decision," Stoltenberg said. "... We are ready to engage in political dialogue, but we're also ready to respond if Russia chooses and armed conflict, confrontation. So we are ready for both options. We are working hard for the best peaceful political solution, but we are also prepared for the worst — Russia once again using force against a neighbor, Ukraine."
Ukraine is not a NATO member, and Russia has sought assurances that Ukraine will never be a NATO member. Stoltenberg described what preparation looks like militarily.