German chancellor pledges to defend every inch of NATO territory

Germany will deploy additional military units in the Baltics to demonstrate to Russia its readiness to defend “every inch” of the alliance’s member states, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said.

Speaking at the East German Economic Forum, which was also attended by Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonite, Scholz said Germany plays a key role in NATO’s presence in the Baltic states. “And since the threat from Russia persists, we and other allies have decided to send additional units to the Baltic States and in the future to station an entire brigade there on a permanent basis”, the chancellor explained.

It is not the first time that NATO’s plans to expand its presence near Russia’s borders have become known. Thus, last summer, The New York Times, citing informed sources, reported that the military bloc’s countries were preparing to quadruple the number of troops in eight countries on the alliance’s “eastern flank” to almost 40,000 soldiers.

The expansion of NATO’s presence near Russia’s borders is a consequence of the Kremlin’s aggressive policy and, in particular, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. After the outbreak of a full-scale war, NATO announced the creation of a 40,000-strong rapid reaction force and plans to increase its strength further to 300,000.

Last year Finland joined the alliance, as a result of which the length of NATO’s border with Russia doubled – by 1.3 thousand kilometers, and the NATO armed forces were joined by one of the most combat-ready armies in Europe. Sweden became a member of the North Atlantic Alliance this spring.Poland, a NATO member since 1999, has asked the US to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory, and has also signed a $15 billion contract to purchase US missile defense and air defense systems.

Vladimir Putin, when announcing the start of the war with Ukraine, said that one of the goals of the invasion was to counter the approach of the “NATO war machine” to Russia’s borders. After Finland and Sweden applied to join the alliance amid the Ukraine war, the Russian president said Russia “does not have the same problems” with those countries “that it has with Ukraine”. “We have no territorial issues or disputes, nothing that could bother us. If they want to, please do so”, Putin said.

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