BRUSSELS – At a summit held this Thursday, 24th, the member countries of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced the rise of troops on its eastern flank and promised to increase their assistance to Ukraine in cybersecurity, in addition to protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Despite the Ukrainian president’s pleas for more help, the Alliance reinforced that it will not place troops in the country.
“In response to the actions of the Russiawe activated NATO defense plans, deployed elements of the NATO Response Force and placed 40,000 troops on our eastern flank, along with significant air and naval assets, under direct NATO command supported by Allied national detachments,” the chief said. of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.
In a press conference shortly after the meeting, Stoltenberg said that the alliance has been providing support to Ukraine since 2014, when the annexation of Ukraine took place. Crimea by Russia. “We train Ukraine’s armed forces, strengthening its military capabilities and increasing its resilience. NATO Allies have stepped up their support and will continue to provide more political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself,” he said.
NATO, which has already massively increased its presence on its eastern borders since the start of the war, with some 40,000 troops scattered from the Baltic to the Black Sea, agreed on Thursday to establish four new combat units in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. .
“NATO Allies will also continue to provide assistance in areas such as cybersecurity and protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. Allies also provide extensive humanitarian support and are hosting millions of refugees.”
Asked what kind of support the alliance will give Ukrainians against chemical threats, Stoltenberg said it will provide detection, protection and medical support equipment, as well as training for decontamination and crisis management in the event of any chemical, biological, radiological attack. or Russian nuclear.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference after the summit Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
The chief declined to provide further details on the type or numbers of assistance equipment they would actually ship east, citing “security concerns”. “We are taking all measures and decisions to ensure the security and defense of all Allies in all domains and with a 360-degree approach.”
Stoltenberg said the Alliance aims to prepare for “a more dangerous strategic reality”, the details of which are to be defined in April during a meeting between the foreign ministers of member and partner countries.
The allies also issued a warning to the China, should the country help Russia amid Western sanctions. “We are concerned about recent public comments from Chinese officials and urge you to stop amplifying the Kremlin’s false narratives, in particular about the war and NATO, and promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
“We call on all States, including the People’s Republic of China, to uphold the international order, including the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, as enshrined in the UN Charter, to refrain from supporting Russia’s war effort in any way. manner and to refrain from any action that would help Russia circumvent sanctions.”
NATO, however, rejected repeated calls from Kiev to defend Ukraine’s skies from Russian airstrikes, and the Ukrainian president, Volodmyr Zelenskywho joined the NATO summit via a video call, complained that the West has not provided modern tanks or anti-missile systems.
“You can give us 1% of all your planes. 1% of all your tanks. 1%!” asked Zelensky. “Ukraine asked for your planes. So we don’t lose so many people. And you have thousands of fighter jets! But we haven’t received any yet. To save people and our cities, Ukraine needs unrestricted military assistance.”
Volodmir Zelensky during a speech to the Japanese parliament on March 23 Photo: Japan News-Yomiuri / Japan News-Yomiuri
A senior US government official told The New York Times that after Zelensky’s comments, NATO members began a conversation about the possibility of supplying anti-ship missile systems to Ukraine. But that can take time, and Zelensky ended his remarks with a call for immediate action.
NATO will also not send troops or planes to Ukraine, reiterated Stoltenberg, whose term as director-general was extended by a year until the end of September 2023.
“NATO has not yet shown what the alliance can do to save people,” Zelensky said, adding that he believed the Russian president, Vladimir Putinalso wanted to attack the eastern members of NATO – Poland and the Baltic countries.
More sanctions on the way
Shortly after the NATO summit, the American president, Joe Biden, participates in a meeting with the G7 countries, which includes Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, where new sanctions against Russia must be defined. then the European Union will also hold a summit to discuss the issue.
The White House said Thursday’s meetings were intended to consolidate the arsenal of sanctions already enacted, thwart Moscow’s attempts to evade punishment and strengthen NATO’s presence in eastern Europe.
O United Kingdom has already imposed sanctions on another wave of Russian creditors on Thursday, including Gazprombank and Alfa Bank, as well as a woman who London said was the stepdaughter of Sergei Lavrov, Putin’s veteran foreign minister.
At the same time, the U.S announced new financial sanctions on Russian politicians, oligarchs and defense companies. These measures, which imply the freezing of assets in the United States, affect 328 deputies of the Duma (the lower house of Parliament), as well as the institution itself, and 48 “large public companies” in the defense sector, details a statement released today by the White House./AFP, REUTERS and NYT