Tuesday, February 7

“NATO has the responsibility that this crisis does not escalate beyond Ukraine”

Thousands of soldiers, planes and ships are in high alert on the eastern flank of NATOto which is added the deployment of Patriot batteries in Poland and Slovakia. A new security reality caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its military integration with Belaruswhich force the 30 countries of the Atlantic Alliance to rethink their long term defense strategy. The Allied Defense Ministers are talking about all this in Brussels this Wednesday in an extraordinary meeting convened by the Secretary General, Jens Stoltenbergto take stock of the “brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine” that has changed and will change the security scenario on the continent.

“We will examine not only the immediate consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also the long-term consequences and the long-term adaptation of our alliance, how to further strengthen our deterrence and defense”, Stoltenberg said, recalling that “NATO has a responsibility to ensure that this crisis does not intensify beyond Ukraine”. “That is why we have reinforced our presence in the eastern part”, he added. The ministers of Finland and Sweden and by videoconference the Ukrainian defense minister will participate, Oleksii Reznikovto whom they have once again guaranteed military aid and humanitarian assistance to continue resisting the Russian attack.

According to the analysis of the head of the allied side, the conflict unleashed by Russia will have lasting consequences for the security environment of the 30 allied countries, which makes it necessary to prepare. “Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are on high alert, there are 100,000 US soldiers in Europe and 40,000 under direct NATO command, mostly on the eastern flank of the Alliance, backed by naval and air forces,” Stoltenberg recalled.

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The Allied leader thanked the United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austinyour country’s important deployment because it confirms the message of “transatlantic unity” at a time when NATO needs to start looking long-term, “at how to further strengthen our defense and deterrence and eliminate any room for miscalculation or misunderstandings in Moscow about our readiness to protect and defend all allies,” he added.

This permanent reinforcement in Eastern Europe will focus the work of the allied countries in the coming months, which will entrust the military commands to develop their plans for the NATO leaders summit in Madrid In the month of June. In addition to this long-term scenario, on the table of the defense ministers is also Poland’s proposal to create a “international peacekeeping force“. An idea welcomed positively by some delegations such as Canada or Estonia and with more caution by countries such as the Netherlands that see it necessary before a Stop the fire and a troop withdrawal from Russia. “It’s too early for that. First we need a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russia” because “a peace mission is very difficult with a war going on and the intensity of Russia’s aggression”, explained the minister Kajsa Ollongren.


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