NATO set to 'significantly reinforce' eastern flank — media

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit Estonia.
Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit Estonia. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

NATO will agree to "significantly reinforce" its eastern flank forces at this week's summit in Madrid, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday.

Western allies will pledge "troops, ships and warplanes" in "new structures" which will be able to be rapidly deployed to areas on the eastern flank, the paper wrote after interviewing NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

The alliance's new strategic concept will be agreed upon at the summit which lays out its goals for the next decade. The newspaper said NATO will "drastically upgrade its eastern defenses, shifting the focus from deterring any invasion to a full defense of allied territory".

Speaking about Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) comments last week, where she said Estonia could be "wiped off the map" under the alliance's current plans, Stoltenberg said he had discussed these issues with all three Baltic states.

"I accept [Kallas] wants more NATO presence and I can promise her [. . .] more presence." Stoltenberg said: "Our main responsibility is to prevent any attack on Estonia or any other ally."

The alliance would "significantly reinforce" its defenses in eastern Europe, he said, pledging that Russia would not be able to take Tallinn in the event of an attack.

Estonia has submitted a joint proposal to NATO with Latvia and Lithuania for permanent division command structures in each country, additional troops and pre-positioned arms and supplies.

A division is the smallest possible unit that can guarantee the interoperability of all types of forces – land, sea and air, the Ministry of Defense told ERR News earlier this month.

Russia's full-scale war on Ukraine means the Baltics are no longer talking about deterrence, only "forward defense." 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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