NATO prepares for (proxy)war in #ukraine or elsewhere on the eastern front


U.S. General Philip Breedlove, the supreme NATO commander for Europe, said the alliance had observed “continued resupply, continued training, and continued organization of forces east of the line of contact…There is increasing capacity in the east [of the front line].” 

NATO’s response has been to develop a rapid reaction force that can be sent to at-risk members at short notice. Approved by NATO leaders in September 2014,  that force is now ready for action – albeit temporarily until a permanent force is in place.

“An interim solution is in place and we are focused on a more permanent high-readiness force,” NATO chief Stoltenberg told reporters as the force was activated. 

NATO has also noted a marked rise in the number of Russian incursions into members’ airspace and a spike in military maneuvers around the Baltic Sea, causing the alliance to adapt its program of military exercises there. 

“We want to group some of the existing exercises together so that we can get bigger, more complex exercises to better prepare our forces,” General Breedlove said. “We are looking at increasing some exercises. Because we have taken on new mission requirements, and we want to address some Article 5 [common defense] capabilities and capacities.”

Ukraine will feature prominently in NATO’s exercises this year, taking part in 11 of the organization’s war games. Four of these – Rapid Trident, Safe Skies, Sea Breeze and Sea Shield - will take place on Ukrainian territory.

“The exercises will be the final stage of combat training for the forces, promoting their active use of standards of NATO member countries,” Ukraine’s assistant defense minister Viktoria Kushnir explained.

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