NATO leaders to bolster 4 new battalions in the east in the face of Russian threat

NATO leaders will support the deployment of four new multinational battalions in Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria at their extraordinary summit in Brussels tomorrow, in the face of the threat posed by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Leaders will strengthen NATO’s stance in all areas, on land, at sea and in the air. With a major expansion of our armed forces in the eastern part of the Alliance, the first step is the deployment of four new battalions,” said the Secretary-General of the Alliance. , Jens Stoltenberg, at a press conference on the eve of the summit.

“It means that we will have eight multinational battalions on the eastern flank, from the Baltic to the Black Sea,” he explained, counting on the battalions he has already placed in the three Baltic countries and Poland after the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014.

The heads of state or government of the 30 countries of the Atlantic Alliance will meet in the Belgian capital to assess the response to the crisis in Ukraine, whose president, Volodímir Zelenski, will intervene via videoconference during the working session.

Stoltenberg explained that these new battalions, which will be “deployed for as long as necessary”, have most of their members already on the ground.

“They’re actually here now, we’re getting more integrated and operational, so the forces are already there, at least to a large extent,” he said.

He made it clear that they will be “multinational” battalions so that they will have an “important part of the national armed forces”, but also with contributions from other allies.

According to the Allied Secretary General, these new battalions are part of NATO’s “immediate response” to Russia’s behavior, with hundreds of thousands of NATO soldiers already “at high-level” ready.

The number of US troops in Europe has increased to 100,000, many in the eastern part of the Alliance, and 40,000 soldiers are under direct Alliance command, he said.

At the same time, NATO plans to “rethink” its long-term deterrence and defense as “this brutal aggression against Ukraine will have long-term implications for our security, it sets a new standard for our security, and NATO has to respond to this new reality,” said Stoltenberg.

Allied leaders are also expected to agree tomorrow to accelerate their targeted support to partner countries “at risk from Russian pressure” such as Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On the other hand, Stoltenberg recalled that China has already provided Russia with political support, “including by spreading blatant lies and disinformation”, and that its allies are concerned it could also “provide material support to the Russian invasion”.

According to him, China has for the first time questioned the Alliance’s fundamental principles, such as its open door policy and therefore the right of each country to choose which organization it belongs to.

“I ask Russia and I hope its leaders will do so tomorrow, to condemn the invasion, to engage in diplomacy and not to provide material support,” he said.

According to the Norwegian politician, “the decisions we make tomorrow will have far-reaching consequences” and the planned major security reinforcements will “require major investments in defence”.

“So I hope the Allies agree to redouble their efforts to invest more. There is a new sense of urgency. Because we cannot take peace for granted,” he concluded.

Source: El heraldo