NATO alliance ‘absolutely at risk’ over Putin’s war in Ukraine, officials say
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has put NATO and its member nations “absolutely in danger”, an official at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) told reporters on Wednesday, a month after the Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The official called Putin “reckless” and said he and those around him “don’t care about human life”.
“From Russia, we realize that Putin and his close entourage are absolutely reckless people. They don’t care about human life. They lie publicly to conceal their military operations. Putin has totally changed his discourse towards the West, and he has a deep hatred of our societies, of our values, so we really believe that he is dangerous, and that the alliance is absolutely in danger, ”said Wednesday the responsible.
SHAPE is NATO’s military operations headquarters in Europe. It is located in Brussels, Belgium. Two SHAPE officials briefed reporters on NATO’s military posture and how they are responding to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The briefing comes ahead of US President Joe Biden’s trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels to meet leaders of NATO allies as the Ukraine crisis continues.
The war has created a “new reality” for NATO allies, another SHAPE official said, echoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s remarks at a press conference earlier on Wednesday.
“You just listened to the SecGen presser, and he said this is a new reality and we need to reset our defense and deterrence posture,” the second SHAPE official said. “This is a permanent and profound change in the European security environment, and SecGen has said the same thing.”
Officials said it was too early to predict how NATO will permanently alter its military strength posture across Europe due to Putin’s actions, but they explained how the posture has changed so far. to reinforce the eastern flank, where NATO allies border Ukraine, and to ensure that they are prepared for any scenario that the war in Ukraine may pose for NATO countries.
Because the NATO Response Force was activated for the first time in NATO history, “40,000 troops” in NATO allies along the eastern flank are now working for “security collective defense” of all NATO countries, and not just for their own nations. There are eight battlegroups, one in each country on the eastern flank, that are part of this NATO Response Force activation, the second SHAPE official said.
This is a “tenfold increase” of what existed before the invasion of Ukraine, the official added.
“In the land domain, in the ground forces, there are now 40,000 troops in these eight battle groups, which are on each country’s one along the eastern flank, a tenfold increase of what was there before the invasion by Russia,” the second SHAPE official said.
In the air, there are “more than 100 additional planes”, the official said.
“We’re still doing what we call air policing,” the official said, but now, after the invasion began, they have eight planes in the air to give the alliance “a 24-hour air presence”. 24/7 on the eastern flank”.
In waters around NATO allies, the alliance has “25 ships at all times patrolling the waters for 360-degree deterrence,” the official said.
“In addition to that, there are normally around 150 ships from NATO countries that also sail the waters and can move back and forth under NATO command and control,” the official added.
While it’s too early to tell what permanent changes to NATO’s military force posture will be due to Putin’s invasion, the official said the current “minimum” force posture is a good “starting point” of what things might look like in the long run. term.
“We are preparing for the worst but doing everything we can so that the worst does not happen,” the first official said.