NATO places troops on high readiness in eastern flank
NATO is taking things up a notch with the Secretary-General announcing the deployment of troops on "high readiness" in a volatile front.
NATO is building up the alliance's presence in the eastern flank, putting hundreds of thousands of troops on high readiness, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
"We are significantly enhancing our presence in the east of the alliance, putting hundreds of thousands of troops on high readiness, supported with significant air and naval forces," Stoltenberg told reporters at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels.
“All of this makes clear that our commitment to Article 5 is unshakeable. Europe and North America must continue to stand strong together in NATO. In defence of our people, our nations and our values,” he added.
Stoltenberg welcomed Blinken to NATO HQ on Friday for discussions about Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Stoltenberg highlighted the military, financial and humanitarian support from NATO Allies to Ukraine.
“The US is leading the way. And I welcome the billions of dollars of additional support announced this week. Yesterday I participated in the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Ramstein. We all agreed on the importance of stepping up and sustaining our military support so that Ukraine prevails as an independent sovereign state," Blinken said.
Stoltenberg urged allies to supply Kiev with winter gear such as clothing, tents, and generators to enable Ukrainian troops to keep on fighting Russia in the cold season.
Average winter temperatures are below freezing for much of the country and it is not unusual for temperatures to drop to minus 15 degrees Celsius.
"The winter is coming, it's going to be hard, and therefore we need both to continue to supply weapons and ammunition but also winter clothing, tents, generators and all the specific equipment which is needed for the winter," Stoltenberg told reporters after his meeting with Blinken.
“The initial signs are positive, and we see Ukraine making real, demonstrable progress in a deliberate way,” Blinken said.
“But this is likely to go on for some significant period of time,” he said. “There are a huge number of Russian forces that are in Ukraine, and unfortunately, tragically, horrifically, President Vladimir Putin has demonstrated that he will throw a lot of people into this at huge cost to Russia.”
In June, NATO leaders agreed to an aid package for Ukraine and Stoltenberg underlined that the Alliance would support Ukraine for the long term. Stoltenberg said the war in Ukraine is entering a critical phase, “All of us will pay a much higher price if Russia and other authoritarian regimes see that their aggression is rewarded. If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we must stay the course, for Ukraine’s sake and for ours.”
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