NATO’s ability to defend remained undiminished despite last year’s challenges, the NATO secretary-general said on Tuesday.

Presenting NATO’s annual report, Jens Stoltenberg described 2020 as “dominated by the pandemic which changed our lives, our economies and our societies.”

“But NATO’s ability to defend our nations’ populations remained as strong as it was,” Stoltenberg stressed, praising the allies’ “steady increase in defense spending” that has been rising for the sixth consecutive year.

He also warned that “security challenges haven’t gone away” during the pandemic, naming terrorism, cyber-attacks, “Russia’s aggressive foreign policy,” the rise of China, and security implications of climate change as the most important threats for the military alliance.

“No country, no continent can tackle them alone,” Stoltenberg said.

He also highlighted that trust in the alliance and the principle of collective defense remained significant for the population of NATO countries.

According to the latest polls, 62% of people would vote to remain a NATO ally if a referendum was held, and only 11% would vote against membership.

Similarly, 79% of the citizens in allied countries find the transatlantic cooperation important.

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