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NATO will increase the number of its high readiness soldiers to more than 300,000

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will increase the number of high readiness troops to more than 300,000 soldiers, according to Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the entity. This would be the most important measure since the Cold War. This and other announcements will be on the table on Wednesday June 28 at the summit that the entity will hold in Madrid.

From Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the organization will increase its number of high readiness troops to more than 300,00 soldiers. Allied countries currently have a reaction force of 40,000 soldiers, which can act in the event of any threat to any of the member states.

According to the secretary general, this measure, together with the transformation of battalions to brigades in key locations in Eastern Europe, are the “greatest revision of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War”.

The allied countries will meet this Tuesday and Wednesday in Madrid in a summit that mainly seeks to announce new strategies to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has already completed four months since it began. In a recently released document, NATO described Russia as a ‘direct threat’.

“They have chosen confrontation instead of dialogue. We are sorry, but of course we must respond to that reality,” Stoltenberg told a news conference in Brussels ahead of the summit.

A Ukrainian tank in the Donbass, on June 21, 2022.
A Ukrainian tank in the Donbass, on June 21, 2022. © Anatolii Stepanov / AFP

The allies will seek strategies to support Ukraine militarily and hope to announce a “reinforced comprehensive assistance package” including the delivery of anti-drone and secure communication systems to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg assured that the allied countries want to help the Ukrainian forces in the modernization of weapons to change the Soviet-era equipment, which they currently use, to modern weapons used by NATO countries.

The accession of Finland and Sweden, among the topics to be discussed

The summit is also expected to discuss the possible accession of Finland and Sweden.

However, Turkey has disagreed, claiming that the two countries protect members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whom Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup on Turkish soil.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shakes hands with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.  One of the main topics at the Madrid summit will be the possible accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shakes hands with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. One of the main topics at the Madrid summit will be the possible accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. © Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to meet at the summit with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to reach an agreement that would allow the two Nordic countries to join the military alliance. .

“I will not make any promises, but I can assure you that we are actively working to ensure progress because Finland and Sweden’s application to join NATO is historic,” Stoltenberg said Monday.

Greater defensive ability

NATO recently released new defense spending figures, showing an increase in investment for the eighth consecutive year.

The allies cut their budget in the 1990s at the end of the Cold War, but increased it again in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula to its territory. That same year they agreed to allocate 2% of the GDP of each country to improve defense.

Regarding this, Stoltenberg said that “nine allies now meet or exceed the 2% target. 19 allies have clear plans to reach it by 2024.”

With the new announcements, NATO seeks to strengthen the organization’s troops and prepare them for a possible offensive.

The event, in which the 30 allied countries will participate, is also expected to discuss the growing influence of Russia and China in the world.

With Reuters and AP

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Written by Editor TLN

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