On the second day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO has decided to increase its readiness on its eastern flanks by deploying thousands more troops and activating a special task force.
Thousands of additional U.S. and NATO troops will deploy on the eastern flank of the Alliance. The U.S. military alone will deploy 7,000 troops from the 4th Infantry Division.
“We are facing a new normal in European security. Where Russia openly contests the European security order. And uses force to pursue its objectives. The world will hold Russia and Belarus accountable for their actions. Russia as the aggressor. Belarus as the enabler. President Putin’s decision to pursue his aggression against Ukraine is a terrible strategic mistake. For which Russia will pay a severe price for years to come,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press briefing.
“In response to Russia’s massive military build-up over the past months, we have already strengthened our deterrence and defence. Yesterday, NATO Allies activated our defence plans. And as a result, we are deploying elements of the NATO Response Force. On land, at sea, and in the air. To further strengthen our posture. And to respond quickly to any contingency. The United States, Canada and European Allies have deployed thousands of more troops to the eastern part of the Alliance. We have over 100 jets at high alert operating in over 30 different locations. And over 120 ships from the High North to the Mediterranean. Including three strike carrier groups,” Stoltenberg added.
According to U.S. defense officials, Russia has committed about 60 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine with approximately 30,000 to 60,000 troops on the ground. That amounts to about half the ground forces amassed in Ukraine’s borders.
In addition to the troop increase, NATO will send more weapons to the Ukrainian military to assist it with its fight against the invading Russian troops. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the transatlantic Alliance would provide more weapons to Ukraine, including air defense systems. The weapons will most likely be FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles but will come from individual NATO members rather than from the Alliance as a whole.
Estonia also said that it is sending more FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine immediately. On Friday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that Ukrainian troops had destroyed 80 Russian tanks and more than 500 armored personnel carriers and other vehicles.
Lieutenant-General Sir Jim Hockenhull, the British director of military intelligence, said that the Russian war objectives are to encircle Kyiv and effect a regime change. The British military official also stated that despite concerted strikes against Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv, the Ukrainian military continues to offer a strong resistance.
U.S. officials corroborated the latter, adding that the invading Russian forces have encountered far stronger resistance than they had expected.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.