NATO has put 300,000 ground troops on high alert amid rising tensions between Russia and the Baltic states; according to the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO hopes to speed up the response time of its troops to be able to react to a combat situation more effectively.
Stoltenberg told the Times newspaper that the alliance has “seen Russia being much more active in many different ways”. He added that NATO has “seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years – tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours”.
“We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among NATO allies and that is exactly the reason why NATO is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War,” Stoltenberg told the newspaper.
According to the Independent, Stoltenberg refused to mention the specific number of troops being put on alert, but the NATO representative of the United Kingdom, Adam Thomson, said it was likely to be around 300,000. Thompson added that the aim was to find a way to mobilise the troops within two months, instead of the typical time of six months.
Cover: US soldiers in Estonia in 2014 (the image is illustrative/photo by Rene Riisalu/courtesy of Estonian Defence Forces.)