NATO To Consider Deploying Additional Troops to Eastern Europe
Feb. 9, 2022 (EIRNS)—In Brussels on Feb. 7, Polish President Andrzej Duda made clear he wants more NATO troops in Poland but also all along the Eastern flank, from the Baltics down to the Black Sea. “I do believe that NATO’s presence in the Eastern flank should be increased along the whole Eastern flank starting from the north, all the way down to the south,” he said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “All countries which would like to receive this strengthening should be given such strengthening. I think it should happen.” He remarked that while the U.S. is deploying troops on President Joe Biden’s order, “I would like these decisions to be taken at the level of the whole Alliance. I would like this to be our common decisions and common forces, which would reinforce the Eastern flank.”
Stoltenberg stated that while, indeed, the North Atlantic Council has not made a decision to activate the NATO Response Force, NATO commander Gen. Tod Wolters has already used his existing authorities to reinforce NATO in the East. “And we have also seen how NATO Allies like Spain, Denmark, United Kingdom, the United States and others have actually provided more capabilities for surveillance for reassurance activities in the Eastern part Alliance and particularly in the Black Sea region,” he said.
Stoltenberg also revealed that the Alliance is in fact considering additional measures. “[W]e are considering more longer-term adjustments to our posture, our presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance,” he said. “No final decision has been made on that. But there is a process now going on within NATO also of course in close consultation with our military commanders to adjust our presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance to further strengthen our deterrence and defense.” NATO defense ministers will be meeting later this month where such questions are likely to be taken up.
Besides Poland, additional U.S. troops have also begun arriving in Romania. “The Americans have arrived,” said Romanian Vasile Dincu yesterday, reported Reuters. “Over 100 specialist U.S. soldiers together with our logistics specialists are preparing, which means it will not be long before the rest of the troops arrive.”
Reuters reports that France has said it also plans to send troops to Romania and has offered to be the lead nation of a future NATO mission, which could see about 1,000 troops from various countries. A decision could be made at the next NATO defense ministers meeting in mid-February.
In Belarus, meanwhile, the second phase of the joint Russian-Belarusian exercise, called Union Courage, is about to get underway. Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov arrived in the Republic of Belarus to monitor the readiness of Russian formations and military units participating in the exercise, reported the Russian Defense Ministry. “During the exercise, it is planned to work out the tasks of suppressing and repelling external aggression during a defensive operation, as well as countering terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State,” the statement adds.