NATO is going to beef up its military forces on the eastern flank as part of a fundamental reset of the alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Telegraph, APA reports citing Sputnik.
NATO is preparing plans for full-scale deployment of troops on its eastern borders in response to Russia’s growing military activity.
Stoltenberg said that NATO was “in the midst of a very fundamental transformation” and that this major “reset” will entail the replacement of the relatively small “tripwire” presence on the alliance’s eastern flank with stronger forces.
According to The Telegraph, NATO military commanders are developing options for the reset, and the alliance’s military presence in countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland is expected to be transformed into a “major force” that would be able to repel a potential invasion.
Stoltenberg noted that about 40,000 troops are already stationed on the eastern flank of the alliance, which is about ten times more than a few months ago. The head of the alliance said that their number will increase.
“What we see now is a new reality, a new normal for European security,” Stoltenberg told the newspaper, adding that NATO leaders are expected to make decisions on “what we call a reset, a longer-term adaptation of NATO” at the Madrid summit in June.
Stoltenberg said in the interview published on Saturday that NATO’s “strategic concept” will, for the first time, address the “threat” from China, amid closer cooperation between Beijing and Russia.
On March 24, in response to the events in Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General announced that he would constantly increase the Alliance’s military presence on the eastern flank by sea, land and air, as well as strengthen air defense.
In addition, four additional multinational combat groups will be established in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.