A month after Putin invaded Ukraine, an official at the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Forces in Europe (SHAPE) told reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has put NATO and its member states in “absolute danger”.
The official described Putin as “reckless” and said he and his inner circle “do not care about human life.”
From Russia, we understand that Putin and his inner circle, are absolutely reckless people. They don’t care about human life. They lie openly to hide their military operations. The official said Wednesday that Putin has completely changed his rhetoric toward the West, and has a deep hatred for our societies and values, so we really appreciate that it’s dangerous, and that the alliance is in absolute danger.
Form is the headquarters for NATO military operations in Europe. It is located in Brussels, Belgium. Two SHAPE officials briefed reporters on NATO’s military position and how they responded to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The briefing comes before US President Joe Biden’s visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels to meet with leaders of countries allied with NATO as the Ukraine crisis continues.
Another SHAPE official said the war had created a “new reality” for NATO allies, echoing Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s words at a press conference earlier on Wednesday.
“You just listened to a SecGen officer, and he said it’s a new reality and we must reset our defensive and deterrence posture,” said the second SHAPE official. “This is a lasting and profound change in the European security environment, and SecGen has said the same.”
Officials said it was too early to predict how NATO would permanently change its military posture across Europe due to Putin’s actions, but they did talk about how the situation has changed so far to bolster the eastern flank, with NATO allies located on Ukraine’s borders, and to make sure they are ready. For any scenario that the war in Ukraine may cause for NATO countries.
With the NATO Response Force operational for the first time in NATO’s history, “40,000 soldiers” in NATO-allied nations along the eastern side are now working for the “collective security and defense” of all NATO countries, not just their own. Countries. The second SHAPE official said there are eight battle groups, one in each country on the eastern side, that are part of the revitalization of the NATO Response Force.
This is “a tenfold increase” from what was there before the invasion of Ukraine, the official added.
“In the land domain, in the ground forces, there are now 40,000 soldiers in those eight combat groups, which are in each one in every country along the eastern side, and this is a tenfold increase over what existed before the Russian invasion,” said the second official in Figure.
There are “more than 100 additional aircraft in the air,” the official said.
“We always do what we call air police,” the official said, but now that the invasion has begun, they have eight planes flying to give the coalition “a 24/7 air presence on the eastern side.”
In the waters around the NATO allies, the alliance has “25 ships at any time that patrol the waters and provide 360-degree deterrence,” the official said.
“In addition, there are usually about 150 ships from NATO countries in addition to that which are also sailing in the waters and can flip back and forth under NATO command and control,” the official added.
While it is too soon to know lasting changes in NATO’s military force posture due to Putin’s invasion, the official said the current force posture “at least” represents a good “starting point” for what things could look like for a long-term.
“We are preparing for the worst, but we are doing everything we can so that the worst does not happen,” said the first official.
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