BRUSSELS – NATO defense ministries have agreed to boost the alliance’s presence in its eastern part, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
“NATO defense ministers agreed on an enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. This will be multinational, to make clear that an attack one ally is an attack against all allies, and that the alliance as a whole will respond,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
“It will be rotational and supported by a program of exercises, and it will be complemented by the necessary logistics and infrastructure,” he added.
Also Stoltenberg noted a number of the alliance’s recent accomplishments on Wednesday, including increased military presence in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
“Today, ministers also reviewed the implementation of the readiness action plan and we agreed that we have accomplished a lot. We have increased NATO’s presence in the eastern part of our alliance, we have enhanced air policing, maritime controls and robust exercises. We have agreed assurance measures for Turkey with Patriot batteries, AWACS surveillance planes, and an enhanced maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Black Sea,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
Since 2014, NATO has been steadily building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow’s alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move.
In September, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any NATO advancement toward Russian borders would prompt Moscow to take counter-measures to ensure the country’s national security.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over NATO’s military buildup along its western borders, warning that the alliance’s expansion undermines regional and global security.