NATO is a defensive alliance. We will always do what is necessary to protect and defend all Allies.
Russia’s latest unprovoked and unjustified violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has severe implications for Euro-Atlantic security. NATO Allies continue to call on Russia to withdraw all military forces from Ukraine and end this illegal occupation immediately.
NATO has further increased its readiness and vigilance in response to Russia’s aggressive military incursion into Ukraine. Allies have adopted a robust and capable military posture to deter – and if required defend against – any threat to Alliance territory and populations.
We’ve reinforced our defences on NATO’s eastern flank, and improved their readiness and ability to operate together. Allies now have around 15,000 troops under NATO command that are deployed along the eastern flank, or are set to move as part of the NATO spearhead force.
Allies also have over 100 combat aircraft on alert to increase the speed and flexibility of the Alliance to respond to potential threats. This multinational effort means that in addition to air policing missions, we can maintain 24/7 patrols in the skies along our Eastern borders.
NATO’s Standing Naval Maritime Groups are deployed and maintaining a high level of readiness. When combined with national assets, NATO Allies currently have over 120 military ships at sea, including 3 carrier strike groups.
We have activated response plans that consolidate the command and control of allied forces and facilitate the rapid movement of military capabilities across allied borders. This enhances our ability to robustly defend Allied territory, which sends clear messages to potential adversaries, thus reducing the chances of miscalculation. Command structures are clear, information sharing is robust, and Allied forces share a common operating picture. These response plans also ensure we are postured to rapidly and professionally support humanitarian efforts as needed.
The land element (8,500) of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (or NATO spearhead force) has been activated and is ready to deploy on short notice. SACEUR intends to use elements of this force as a reserve for needs that may emerge in the coming days as assessments and planning continue.
Another approximately 20,000 troops in the Intermediate Follow-on Forces group have increased their readiness and are preparing for future tasks if needed. Not included in the troop numbers mentioned are national defence forces, which comprise hundreds-of-thousands of additional personnel that are available to the Alliance.
NATO has layers of advanced capabilities operating throughout the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains. The Alliance is postured to deter any threat and defend Allies in all domains, across the entire Euro-Atlantic area.
NATO will maintain a state of enhanced vigilance for as long as necessary, with a robust and capable military posture to deter – and if required defend against – any threat to Alliance territory and populations.