NATO leaders agree to support eastern forces following invasion

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U.S. President Joe Biden, along with his NATO counterparts, agreed to send thousands troops to support allies in Ukraine and Russia as a response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

After chairing a NATO summit in Brussels, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the 30-nation NATO organization would send elements of the NATO Response Force as well as elements of a rapidly deployable spearhead unit to the alliance’s eastern flank. This is the first time that the force has been used in defense of NATO allies.

Stoltenberg didn’t say how many troops would go or where they would go, but he confirmed that there would be land, sea, and air power involved.

Stoltenberg stated that, in response to Europe’s most severe security crisis in decades, “We are now deploying NATO Response Force for a first time in a collective defense context.” Talking about thousands of troops is not the right word. We are referring to air and maritime capabilities.”

“There should be no room for miscalculations or misunderstandings. He stated that we will do whatever it takes to defend and protect every ally and every inch on NATO territory.

While the NRF can hold up to 40,000 soldiers, Stoltenberg stated that NATO would not deploy the entire force. The NATO will also send parts of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force spearhead unit, currently led by France.

This announcement was made after NATO members, including Russia’s neighbour Estonia in the North and around the west of conflict-hit Ukraine, to Bulgaria along the Black Sea coast, called for urgent consultations on Thursday regarding their security, amid concerns about the invasion.

The leaders stated that they would continue to take every measure and decision necessary to ensure security and defense for all allies. “We will deploy all necessary forces to ensure strong, credible defense and deterrence across the alliance, both now and in the long-term,” the leaders said.

The largest security organization in the world had previously around 5,000 troops stationed in the Baltic countries — Estonia Latvia Lithuania — and Poland. However, it has significantly increased its defenses over these three months.

Germany announced Friday that it will deploy troops and a Patriot antimissile system to Slovakia. Slovakia is a NATO member and was one of the countries that triggered the urgent consultations.

U.S. General Tod Wolters, NATO’s Supreme All-Allied Commander in Europe, stated that the new contributions “represent an agile, combat credible force that is capable of being used in multiple ways, and we are fully utilizing their inherent agility.”

He thanked Canada and the U.S. for their recent commitments to send an additional 7,640 troops. This includes an armored brigade fighting team, artillery units and a naval frigate. It wasn’t immediately clear if those troops were part the NRF deployment.

While some of NATO’s 30 members are providing arms, ammunition, and other equipment to Ukraine’s government, NATO itself is not. It will not launch military actions in support of Ukraine. Although it is close to the country, there are no prospects of joining.

However, the Baltic countries have stated that the West must “urgently supply Ukrainian people weapons, ammunition, and any other type of military support to protect itself as well as financial, political, and economic assistance and support, humanitarian help.”

After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO began to beef up its defenses throughout northeastern Europe. Some members recently sent troops, warships, and aircraft to the Black Sea region near their allies, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria.

NATO activated an emergency plan system in the short-term to enable commanders to move their forces faster. Patrols within allied territory have been initiated by surveillance aircraft.

Pro-Ukraine protestors gathered outside NATO headquarters in Brussels as leaders prepared for the virtual summit. Numerous Ukrainians living in Brussels chanted “Putin Terrorist”, “Close the Sky Down” or “Stop Putin, Stop War!”

“We are fighting for democracy in all of the democratic worlds here. They will move next to the European Union if we don’t stop them from Ukraine. They will be at you door,” Artemii Satrov said, clad in a Ukrainian flag. We are asking for closure of the (airspace) to allow military assistance to Ukraine.