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NATO to massively increase number of forces at high readiness

  • 27 Jun 2022

NATO to dramatically increase forces on high alert to over 300,000 from just 40,000 amid Russia threat.

NATO chief Stoltenberg did not give further details of the additional high readiness forces or how they could be deployed by the alliance. ( AP )

NATO will increase the number of its forces at high readiness massively to over 300,000, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

"We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000," he told reporters on Monday ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid later this week in Madrid.

NATO's quick reaction force, the NATO response force, so far has some 40,000 troops.

At the Madrid summit, NATO will also change its language on Russia that in the alliance's last strategy from 2010 was still described as a strategic partner.

"That will not be the case in the strategic concept that we will agree in Madrid," Stoltenberg said.

"I expect that allies will state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order."

READ MORE: Erdogan to meet with heads of Sweden, Finland, NATO in Spain summit

'Systemic challenge'

NATO’s is also expected to release its first new strategy concept in a decade which will cite China as a concern for the first time but member states remain at odds over how to describe the country with the world's largest military and its relationship with Russia, NATO diplomats say.

Both a summit of the G7 rich industrial democracies now under way in Germany and a NATO summit to follow will tackle China's deepening ties with Russia after Moscow's conflict with Ukraine, and what is seen as the growing inclination of China to flex its geopolitical muscle and coercive economic might abroad.

The new strategic concept to be endorsed at the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday and Thursday will address increasing threats posed by Russia and, for the first time, China, the world's second largest economy, US officials said last week.

A White House official voiced confidence on Sunday that the document would include "strong" language on China, but said the negotiations were continuing ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid on June 29-30.

One diplomat said a compromise was taking shape under which China would be described as a "systemic challenge", while including balancing language referring to a "willingness to work on areas of common interest" with Beijing.

READ MORE: Türkiye: NATO should focus on determining common enemies

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