NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which began in 2014, did not change the alliance, but demonstrated the need to strengthen collective defense. In this regard, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed, the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine on February 24 did not come as a surprise to NATO.
“Since 2014, NATO has implemented the largest strengthening of collective defense, since the war did not start last year, it began in 2014 and entailed the largest adaptation of the alliance, the introduction of high readiness of our forces, strengthening on the eastern flank, an increase in the number of exercises, and also for the first time in For many years, countries have increased defense spending,” said Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in Brussels (quoted from “RIA News”).
During the briefing, Jens Stoltenberg also said that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has entered the stage of a “logistics war”, and therefore it is necessary to send equipment and ammunition to Ukraine in the near future. In connection with fears of a large-scale Russian offensive, Mr. Stoltenberg called for an increase in military assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and also allowed the sending of fighter jets to Ukraine.
After the annexation of Crimea to Russia in 2014, a joint high-readiness task force was created on the basis of NATO to be deployed in the event of a military conflict. The group includes 11.5 thousand military personnel. In addition, the alliance increased the number of rapid reaction forces to 40,000. In 2022, plans were reported to increase their number to 300,000. Also in 2014, the strengthening of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe began.
After the start of the special operation in Ukraine, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the Minsk agreements signed to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014 provided time for strengthening the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The document was signed by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Later, Mrs. Merkel’s statement was supported by ex-president of France Francois Hollande and ex-president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that he informed Western leaders about the impossibility of implementing the Minsk agreements.
Follow the situation in Ukraine in the online broadcast “Kommersant”.