NATO to Dramatically Increase Forces on High Alert amid Russia Threat

NATO will significantly increase the number of forces on high alert from 300,000 to 400,000 to deter Russia hostilities. 

It marks part of the biggest overhaul of the alliance’s defenses since the Cold War. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine changed the security environment across Europe. NATO confirmed that allies will expand troop deployments in NATO countries that sit closest to Russia. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that decisions being made constitute the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the Cold War. 

The 30-member alliance is also expected to consider Russia to be “the most significant and direct threat to our security.” 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, allies have already hardened their defenses. This step is now the most significant. 

Stoltenberg said the steps will transform the nATO Response Force and increase the number of high readiness forces to well over 300,000. 

The NATO Response Force is kept at varying degrees of readiness to mobilize, from two days’ notice to six months. 

Stoltenberg said the strengthening of units deployed across eight eastern and southeastern NATO countries will be done to deter Russian hostilities. 

More war-fighting equipment will be stationed in states such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, among those that feel most at risk from Russia. 

The desire is for NATO to have strong enough ground forces to defeat any attempt at an invasion. 

This is a fundamental shift from a policy known as a “tripwire,” which was adopted after Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, annexing Crimea. Then, the allies agreed to set up four missions in the Baltic states and Poland, each with around 1,000 troops. If Russia chose to invade a country, battlegroups would not be able to stop the attack, but would trigger “tripwires,” prompting reinforcements to rush in. 

But now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, allies believe they need to deny any invading force from having the ability to take any ground from the first day of an invasion. 

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