NATO needs more preparedness, more weapons – head of military alliance
By Stephanie van den Berg
The Hague (Reuters) – NATO must build “even higher readiness” and boost its weapons capabilities along its eastern border in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO said on Tuesday. leader of the military alliance.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was speaking after informal talks in the Netherlands with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the leaders of Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Portugal and Belgium ahead of a summit wider NATO meeting in Madrid at the end of the month.
“In Madrid we will agree on a major strengthening of our posture,” he said. “Tonight we discussed the need for a more robust, combat-ready forward presence and even higher readiness and more pre-positioned equipment and supplies.”
Responding to a call by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday for more long-range weapons, Stoltenberg said he agreed with Kyiv receiving more heavy weapons, but offered no details.
“Ukraine should have more heavy weapons and NATO allies and partners have been providing heavy weapons … and they are also stepping up,” Stoltenberg said.
“In terms of armaments, we are united here that it is crucial that Russia loses the war,” Dutch leader Rutte told reporters in The Hague. “And since we cannot have a direct confrontation between NATO troops and Russia, what we have to do is make sure that Ukraine can fight this war, that it has access to all the necessary armaments.
Asked about Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the alliance, Stoltenberg said he was looking for “a united way” to resolve Turkey’s opposition, which has been angered by what it sees as a Swedish support for Kurdish activists.
Following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls “a special military operation”, NATO has increased its presence in the Baltic countries.
Stoltenberg said NATO will further strengthen the alliance when the 30 members meet June 29-30 in the Spanish capital.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer, Stephanie van den Berg; Writing by Anthony DeutschEditing by Marguerita Choy)