NATO will increase its presence in the immediate vicinity of Russia with the accession of Finland and Sweden and the military reinforcement in the Baltic Sea at the end of its summit meeting this Wednesday and Thursday in Madrid, the first since the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir. Putin.
“At a time when Putin has broken the peace in Europe and attacked the principles of rule-based order, the United States and its allies intend to strengthen their position,” said US President Joe Biden, announcing the strengthening of the country’s military presence. in Europe.
This means increasing troops in Spain, Poland, Romania, the Baltic States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.
“If Putin expected to have less NATO on the eastern flank as a result of his illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, he was totally wrong: he will have more NATO,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Russia responded to the ads with criticism of what it called NATO’s “aggressiveness”. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance to Finland and Sweden “profoundly destabilizing”.
Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky spoke via video conference at the summit of heads of state and government of the Alliance and asked for more help.
“We need much more modern systems, modern artillery,” Zelensky said, before adding that economic support “is no less important than arms assistance.”
“Russia continues to receive billions every day and spends them on war. We have a billionaire deficit. We don’t have oil or gasoline to cover,” Zelensky said. He said Ukraine needs 5 billion dollars a month for its defense.
The incorporation of Finland, and its 1,300 km land border with Russia, will make the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) more than double its territorial limits with this country.
In this way, Russia will have borders with six members of the Alliance: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – the last two by the enclave of Kaliningrad – and Norway.
The accession of Finland and Sweden was possible because Turkey withdrew its veto in exchange for ending the protection of Kurdish separatists, who are considered terrorists by Ankara.
On Wednesday, the day after the signing of a memorandum by the three countries, Ankara asked for the extradition of 33 people.
– “Transformative” meeting – The Norwegian Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, declared that the summit in Madrid will be “historic and transformative”, marked by the Russian challenge.
“We come together in the midst of the most serious security crisis we have faced since World War II,” Stoltenberg said.
The Alliance created in 1949 will begin the biggest overhaul of its defense and deterrence capability since the end of the Cold War, strengthening its troops in Eastern Europe and greatly increasing its highly available troops in Russia’s immediate vicinity.
NATO members, who have already sent billions of dollars in aid to Kiev, are expected to announce in Madrid a “complete assistance program for Ukraine to help the country assert its right to self-defense,” Stoltenberg promised.
Norway announced on Wednesday the shipment of three batteries of long-range MLRS rocket launchers. On Tuesday, the Dutch and German defense ministers announced the delivery of six additional howitzers.
In addition, the organization will turn its gaze for the first time to the challenge caused by the strength of China, in the update of its Strategic Concept, its manual of action and priorities.
“China is not an adversary,” Stoltenberg said.
“But of course, we have to take into account the consequences for our security when we see that China invests a lot in modern military power, long-range missiles or nuclear weapons, and also tries to control strategic infrastructures, such as 5G,” he said. , regarding the state-of-the-art telephony network.
John Kirby, National Security Adviser to the US government, recalled that “the Strategic Concept has not been updated since 2010 and the world was very different at the time”.
Reflecting the evolution of NATO, South Korea and Japan participate for the first time in a meeting of the organization.