NATO increases military posture in Eastern Europe following Ukraine invasion

NATO will announce four new battle groups to be based in eastern Europe on Thursday when President Biden and other leaders meet in Brussels for a summit to address Russia‘s monthlong invasion of Ukraine.

The new battle groups will be based in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and will join other units to stretch the alliance from the Baltics to the Black Sea, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday during a press conference.

“We face a new reality for our security,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters. “We must reset our deterrence and defense for the longer term.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address NATO leaders during the summit, just as he has made his country’s case for greater support before other bodies such as the US Congress and the British House of Commons.

NATO leaders will reaffirm our support for Ukraine [which] has the right to self-defense under the UN charter,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “We are helping Ukraine uphold this fundamental right.”

He expects the NATO leaders to discuss increasing their defense spending, a topic that has gained more support throughout Europe since the invasion of Ukraine.

“We cannot take peace for granted,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “The decisions we take tomorrow will have far-reaching implications.”

He acknowledged that NATO members are navigating a difficult route between supplying Ukraine with sufficient firepower to drive Russia from its territory and ensuring the conflict doesn’t spiral out of control.

“President [Vladimir] Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is brutal and the human suffering is horrifying and painful to watch,” Mr. Stoltenberg said, adding that a NATORussia escalation “would cause even more death and even more destruction.”

Russian officials have refused to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine if their situation there becomes untenable.

Some leaders in Washington have said such a use of a nuclear weapon in a non-NATO could still result in member states invoking collective defense under Article 5 of the NATO charter if fallout drifts into their countries.

Russia must stop its nuclear saber-rattling. This is dangerous and irresponsible,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “The nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought. It just highlights the importance of ending the war in Ukraine.”

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