Nato defence ministers have decided to develop options for further strengthen Nato’s deterrence and defence, including considering establishing new battlegroups in central and eastern, south-eastern Europe, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on February 16.
“I welcomed the offer by France to lead such a battlegroup in Romania,” Stoltenberg said at the close of the first day of a two-day meeting of Nato defence ministers.
“Our military commanders will now work on the details and report back within weeks,” he said.
Responding to Russian claims that it was withdrawing troops from areas adjacent to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said: “So far, we do not see any sign of de-escalation on the ground”.
“No withdrawals of troops or equipment,” he said. “This may of course change.”
“However, what we see today is that Russia maintains a massive invasion force ready to attack. With high-end capabilities. From Crimea to Belarus.”
Stoltenberg described this as the biggest concentration of forces in Europe since the Cold War.
“From the start, Nato Allies have made clear that further Russian aggression against Ukraine would have a high cost. And we have called out Russia’s actions, plans and disinformation,” he said.
“At the same time, Nato remains prepared for dialogue,” Stoltenberg said, saying that he was reiterating his invitation to Russia to meet again in the Nato-Russia Council.
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