NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives for a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 15, 2022. (OLIVIER MATTHYS / AP)
BRUSSELS – Specific forces could be pre-assigned to specific countries on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to reinforce the alliance's deterrence and defense in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said here on Wednesday.
The forces would not be stationed permanently in the country they are assigned to but will train there regularly in order to get to know the area and increase interoperability with home defense forces, he said ahead of a meeting of the alliance's defense ministers. They would also be assigned specific tasks.
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Allies are committed to continuing providing the military equipment that Ukraine needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems.
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General, NATO
Pre-assigned forces will be part of a series of measures aimed at reinforcing presence, capabilities and readiness on NATO's eastern flank.
These include an increased permanent presence of troops and headquarters as well as prepositioned equipment and weapon stockpile on top of pre-assigned forces, Stoltenberg said. Air, sea and cyber defense will also be reinforced.
NATO has been increasing its presence on its eastern flank since before the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out.
"The number of NATO battlegroups has doubled to eight and more than 40,000 troops are now under direct NATO command," reads a press release.
The new measures are on the agenda of Wednesday's NATO defense ministers' meeting, where Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is scheduled to update his counterparts on what Ukraine urgently needs.
"Allies are committed to continuing providing the military equipment that Ukraine needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems," Stoltenberg said.
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Georgia, Sweden, Finland and the European Union were also to attend the discussions.