Stoltenberg: NATO leaders agreed to reinforce support for Bosnia and Georgia

NEWS 24.03.2022 15:25
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Source: Jens Stoltenberg (REUTERS/Johanna Geron)

NATO allies agreed to provide additional support to Bosnia and Georgia in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increased threats to those two countries, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during Thursday’s press conference.

“We have just finished an extraordinary summit of NATO leaders to address the biggest threat to our security in a generation: President Putin’s war against Ukraine. Today, NATO leaders agreed that we must and will provide further support to Ukraine. We will continue to impose unprecedented costs on Russia. And we will reinforce Allied deterrence and defence,” Stoltenberg said.

“At the same time, we have a responsibility to ensure the conflict does not escalate further. Because this would be even more dangerous and more devastating. Allies agreed that we must also increase our support for other partners at risk from Russian threats and interference.

Including Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Working together, and with the European Union, we must help them uphold their sovereignty and strengthen their resilience,” he added.

The Secretary-General pointed out that leaders approved four new NATO battlegroups stationed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. These groups will be deployed are in addition to the four already in the Baltic countries and Poland.

That totals eight multinational NATO battlegroups, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

“Across Europe, there are one hundred thousand US troops supporting NATO efforts. And European Allies and Canada have also stepped up. We have 40,000 forces under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the Alliance. Backed by major air and naval power. Including an unprecedented five carrier strike groups from the High North to the Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg pointed out.

According to him, NATO leaders agreed to reset the deterrence and defence for the longer term and to face a new security reality.

“On land, we will have substantially more forces in the eastern part of the Alliance, at higher readiness.

With more prepositioned equipment and supplies. In the air, we will deploy more jets, and strengthen our integrated air and missile defence. At sea, we will have carrier strike groups, submarines and significant numbers of combat ships on a persistent basis,” the Secretary-General said, adding that allies also agreed to strengthen their cyber defences.

He added that allied leaders called on China to refrain from supporting Russia’s war effort pointing out that this country must not provide economic or military support for the Russian invasion.

Instead, Beijing should use its significant influence on Russia and promote an immediate, peaceful resolution, he said.

Allies also agreed that Belarus must stop acting as an accomplice to the Russian invasion.

Stoltenberg concluded that NATO leaders reaffirmed our strong commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy, under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty.

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