On Thursday Brussels will host an extraordinary summit of NATO leaders, as well as a G7 summit. The inter-governmental political forum, which is comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, will also focus on the war in Ukraine. Also on Thursday, US President Joe Biden will address EU leaders at a meeting of the European Council.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s extraordinary NATO summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance will continue to strengthen its military capacities and provide military aid to Ukraine, in a bid to protect all allied member states: “There are now hundreds of thousands of Allied troops at heightened readiness across the Alliance. One hundred thousand US troops in Europe. And 40,000 forces under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the alliance. All backed by major air and naval power. Including five carrier strike groups in the High North and in the Mediterranean. At the Summit tomorrow, we will make further decisions. I expect leaders will agree to strengthen NATO's posture in all domains. With major increases to our forces in the eastern part of the Alliance. On land, in the air, and at sea.”
He went on to say that this would include the deployment of four new NATO battle-groups, in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Along with existing forces in the Baltic countries and Poland, this would mean that NATO will have eight multinational battle-groups along the eastern flank, from the Baltic to the Black Sea: “We are determined to do all we can to support Ukraine. But we have a responsibility to ensure that the war does not escalate beyond Ukraine, and become a conflict between NATO and Russia. This would cause even more death and even more destruction.”
Stoltenberg then said that NATO leaders will also address China's role in the situation: “Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of independent nations to choose their own path. China has provided Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and disinformation. And Allies are concerned that China could provide material support for the Russian invasion. I expect leaders will call on China to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council. Refrain from supporting Russia's war effort. And join the rest of the world in calling for an immediate, peaceful end to this war.”
He concluded that the planned security reinforcements would require major investment into the defense sector. Representing Croatia at the NATO summit, will be President Zoran Milanović.
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