Updated Mar 23, 2022 - World

NATO to agree to "major increases" of troops on eastern flank

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 23. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

NATO will agree at a summit on Thursday to significantly bolster its troop presence on its eastern flank, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

State of play: The deployment will consist of four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Stoltenberg said he expects leaders at Thursday's emergency summit in Brussels — which Biden will attend — to OK strengthening "NATO’s posture in all domains."

  • That will include "major increases in the eastern part of the alliance on land, in the air and at sea," Stoltenberg said.

The backdrop: Since Russia's military buildup on Ukraine's border began in October, the U.S. and NATO have deployed thousands of troops to eastern-flank countries like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania, Axios' Zach Basu reports.

  • The troops are supported by 130 allied aircraft and 140 allied ships, in addition to sophisticated air defense systems.

What he's saying: "We face a new reality for our security, so we must reset our deterrence and defense for the longer term," Stoltenberg said.

  • "Tomorrow, NATO leaders will reaffirm our support to Ukraine. Ukraine has the right to self-defense under the UN Charter and we are helping Ukrainians to uphold this fundamental right."

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