NATO's new Baltic defense plans to be 'more detailed and concrete' - Stoltenberg

  • 2023-04-27
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - NATO's new defense plans for the Baltic countries will be "more detailed and concrete" than the current ones, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

"NATO has plans in place to defend every inch of allied territory," he told Lithuanian journalists at an online news conference. "We are updating plans so they can be more detailed and concrete and reflect on the new security reality."

Stoltenberg said he expected NATO member countries to agree on new defense plans by the Alliance's summit in Vilnius scheduled for July 11-12.

The plans will remain classified so as not to reveal any operational details, but they will define both the role of the forces currently deployed on the eastern flank and the arrival of reinforcements from the West if needed, according to the NATO chief.

Once the plans are approved, targets will be set for individual member countries for the development of capabilities to meet their commitments.

At the news conference, the secretary general did not speak about the deployment of new capabilities in the Baltic Sea region, something that countries in the region have consistently sought.

NATO has already deployed a significant number of forces on its eastern flank in recent years, he said.

Stoltenberg also reiterated his condemnation of Russia's plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, calling Moscow's nuclear rhetoric "dangerous and irresponsible".

However, the secretary general underlined that the situation did not call for a specific NATO nuclear response.

"So far we haven't seen any changes in Russia's nuclear posture that warrants any changes in NATO's nuclear posture," he said.

Speaking about NATO's Vilnius summit in July, Stoltenberg said he expected the allies to agree on a stronger commitment to two percent of GDP on defense spending and on further support Ukraine.

"I expect, of course, that they will reiterate that Ukraine will become a member in the Alliance," he said.

In Stoltenberg's words, the Alliance also has to agree on practical assistance for Ukraine, including a long-term plan to help develop the Armed Forces of the country, which is fighting back against Russian aggression, and bring them up to NATO standards.

What is key now is for Ukraine to win the war, which is why the Alliance needs to continue to provide it with military support, according to the secretary general.

"Unless Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation in Europe, there is no membership issue to discuss," he said.