NATO will activate its defense forces after the Russias invasion of Ukraine, according to its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who told the press on Thursday that peace in Europe has been “shattered.”
Stoltenberg addressed a news conference, providing some information on how the land-sea and air assets of the alliance will be activated to defend against any threat to NATO member states.
The Secretary General said that the North Atlantic Council has decided to activate defense plans so they can send NATO forces to wherever regions they are needed. “NATO’s core task is to protect and defend all allies. There must be no room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” Stoltenberg declared.
NATO activates defense forces after Russian invasion of Ukraine
Meanwhile, Russia claimed on Thursday afternoon that it has knocked out Ukraine’s entire air defense system.
Stoltenberg said that NATO deploying forces “on land, at sea, and in the air,” including thousands of troops, more than 120 ships, and over 100 jets whose pilots have been placed “on high alert, protecting our air space.”
“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the alliance from aggression,” he said.
“Peace cannot be taken for granted. Freedom and democracy are contested by authoritarian regimes,” Stoltenberg averred, adding “We will protect our people and our values. Democracy will always prevail over autocracy. Freedom will always prevail over oppression.”
Earlier, a NATO summit was called for Friday to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an emergency EU meeting will be held in Brussels on Thursday night.
The NATO alliance is triggering NATO’s Article 4 which states that allies can “hold consultations whenever they feel the territorial integrity, political independence or security of an ally is threatened.”
Russia’s aggression “Threat to the entire world”
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Thursday ahead of the NATO and EU meetings “The most effective response to Russia’s aggression is unity. Russia’s widespread aggression is a threat to the entire world and to all NATO countries, and NATO consultations on strengthening the security of the Allies must be initiated to implement additional measures for ensuring the defense of NATO Allies.”
What is Article 4?
Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty says: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”
Any member country can formally invoke Article 4. As soon as it is invoked, the issue is discussed amongst all the members of the Alliance; this usually leads to some form of joint decision or action on behalf of the alliance.
Since the Alliance’s creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked six times.
The North Atlantic Council issued a statement on the Ukraine situation on Thursday. It states in part:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s horrifying attack on Ukraine, which is entirely unjustified and unprovoked. Our thoughts are with all those killed and injured, and with the people of Ukraine. We also condemn Belarus for enabling this attack.
“This renewed attack is a grave violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and is wholly contradictory to Russia’s commitments in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, the Budapest Memorandum and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country.
“We stand with the people of Ukraine and its legitimate, democratically elected president, parliament and government. We will always maintain our full support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters.
“We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action and withdraw all its forces from in and around Ukraine, to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and assistance to all persons in need.”