The NATO military alliance stands strong in its support of Ukraine and is “prepared for all eventualities,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a DW interview.

Speaking with Conflict Zone host Sarah Kelly from the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, Stoltenberg said recent developments — Russia’s partial troop mobilization, the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory in the east and the Kremlin’s “dangerous nuclear rhetoric” — represented the “biggest escalation since the war” began in late February.

“We cannot be intimidated or accept blackmailing from Russia,” he said. “This nuclear rhetoric and the threats we have seen from Russia, their aim is, of course, to coerce us, to blackmail us, to stop providing support to Ukraine.”

While Stoltenberg deemed the risk of nuclear attack by Russia as low, he said the impact of such an attack meant the West had to be ready. “The nuclear rhetoric coming from President Putin is dangerous, is reckless, and therefore we have to take this threat seriously.”