ISTANBUL – NATO on Friday reaffirmed its solidarity with Ukraine in the "heroic defense" of its nation as the alliance "solemnly" marks one year of Moscow’s "brutal" war on Kyiv.

"We pay tribute to the lives lost, and we deplore the tragic human suffering and destruction, including of Ukraine’s residential areas and civilian and energy infrastructure, caused by Russia’s illegal war," the alliance said in a statement.

Pledging to step up its “political and practical support” to Ukraine, it said that NATO's support will be maintained "as long as necessary to help Ukraine prevail" by coordinating closely with relevant stakeholders, including international organizations, in particular the EU, as well as like-minded countries.

"While we have called on Russia to engage constructively in credible negotiations with Ukraine, Russia has not shown any genuine openness to a just and lasting peace. We remain determined to maintain coordinated international pressure on Russia," it said, underscoring that Russia bears "full responsibility" for the war.

The alliance also condemned "all those, including Belarus, who are actively facilitating Russia’s war."

Stating that there can be “no impunity” for Russian “war crimes” and other atrocities, it said all those responsible must be held accountable.

"Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw all of its military forces from Ukraine," it urged.

“Russia’s war also threatens global security. Russia’s energy blackmail, its impact on global food supplies, its malign hybrid activities, its worldwide disinformation campaign, and its irresponsible nuclear rhetoric demonstrate clearly Russia’s disregard for international norms and the welfare of billions of people around the world,” the statement said.

"Russia’s efforts to break the resolve of the brave people of Ukraine are failing. One year on, Ukrainians are fighting valiantly for freedom and independence. We stand with them," it added.

The NATO invitees – Finland and Sweden – also associate themselves with the statement. (Anadolu)