Secretary General previews extraordinary meeting of NATO Defence Ministers
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg previewed this week’s extraordinary meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in a press conference on Tuesday (15 March 2022). “NATO Defence Ministers will meet tomorrow at a defining moment for our security,” he said. “President Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is causing death and destruction every day; it has shocked the world; and shaken the international order.”
Secretary General Stoltenberg highlighted NATO’s long-standing partnership with Ukraine, and Allies’ strong support for Kyiv in the current crisis: “For many years, NATO Allies have trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops. Many of them are now fighting on the front lines. Allies have also provided significant quantities of critical equipment, including anti-tank and air defence weapons, drones, ammunition and fuel. Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-defence, enshrined in the UN Charter; and NATO Allies and partners will continue to help Ukraine uphold that right, by providing military equipment, and financial and humanitarian assistance,” he said.
Mr Stoltenberg also outlined NATO’s rapid response to protect all Allies, including with activated defence plans and raised readiness. “There are now hundreds of thousands of forces on heightened alert across the Alliance, one hundred thousand US troops in Europe and around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the Alliance, backed by major air and naval power as well as air defences. All of this sends an unmistakable message: an attack on one Ally will be met with a decisive response from the whole Alliance,” he said.
When ministers meet on Wednesday, they will discuss a number of concrete measures to reinforce Allies security for the longer-term. The Secretary General said this could include “substantially more forces in the eastern part of the Alliance”, as well as major increases to air and naval deployments, strengthened air and missile defence, reinforced cyber defences, and more and larger exercises. He underlined that this will require major increases in defence investment, and welcomed the efforts of Allies who have already announced increases.
The Ukrainian Defence Minister will participate in tomorrow’s meeting, as will Georgia, Finland, Sweden, and the European Union.