Activating part of its 40,000-strong response force to protect member countries near the border with Russia’s Ukraine war is a first in the alliance’s history.
It marks a watershed moment in the organization’s history.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg cautioned Friday, “the Kremlin’s ambitions are not restricted to Ukraine” throughout a media briefing on the unusual deployment of troops.
In a statement, Stoltenberg noted, “we are deploying troops so NATO allies avoid any misjudgments, any misconceptions that we are not sufficient to defend all of our allies.”
“It’s something all of the allies have agreed to undertake,” says the commander.
According to Axios, NATO Response Force forces will be stationed “upon land, on sea, and even in the air” in Europe for providing collective defense.
We are deploying elements of the #NATO Response Force.
Here are 5️⃣ things you should know about the highly ready, multinational force pic.twitter.com/abdWkNAtqg
— NATO (@NATO) February 25, 2022
The secretary general noted, despite the fact the NRF’s number has increased since 2014, not all of the organization’s forces would be deployed.
The NATO leader also stated, at the requests of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration, NATO members would provide Ukraine with armaments and air defense systems.
Stoltenberg told journalists the eastern border allies are “very concerned” about what is happening in Ukraine at the time of the statement.
Stoltenberg explained because they are “near to the conflict in Ukraine” and also border Russia, they witnessed “not just the military presence and the ongoing war in Ukraine, but also very dangerous rhetoric because this goes well beyond Ukraine.”
NATO has activated its NATO Response Force, marking the first time the alliance has activated the potentially 40,000-person force for “a deterrence and defense" role, according to a NATO spokesperson. https://t.co/mSLyAPWJRI pic.twitter.com/nbrUWluu57
— ABC News (@ABC) February 26, 2022
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“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is much more than a provocation against the country.”
“In addition to being an utterly devasting and horrible attack on innocent individuals in Ukraine, it is also an assault on the entire European security structure. It is for this reason we treat it with such seriousness, he went on to say.
Joe Biden, the president of the United States, has also dispatched soldiers to eastern Europe in order to protect NATO countries surrounding the conflict.
The president made it plain these troops are being dispatched to Ukraine as a defensive measure; they will not be transported into the country to engage in combat with Russian forces.
In a statement, NATO Commander Gen. Tod Wolters described the activation of response forces as “historic.”
“For the first time, the alliance is deploying these high-readiness forces in a deterrent and defense role, marking a watershed event in the alliance’s history.”
“They represent a versatile, combat realistic force that can be deployed in a variety of ways, and we are capitalizing on their innate agility to the fullest extent possible,” Wolters said in a statement.
“These deterrence measures are smart and they also improve our ability to protect and defend the one billion citizens who have placed their trust in us.”