NATO is undertaking the biggest military reinforcement in Europe since the Cold War. The announcement comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s charge that Russia has been using “force to change borders, to annex Crimea and to destabilize eastern Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg attended the first deployment exercise of the Alliance’s Spearhead Force in western Poland Thursday. Top NATO military commanders as well as Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak were also present at the event. Stoltenberg met Polish President-elect Andrzej Duda as well.
"This is a strong expression that NATO stands ready to protect and defend Poland and all allies against any threat," Stoltenberg said, "Troops from nine different countries working together as one - this is really the strength of NATO.” He appreciated the dedication and professionalism of the troops and said that he was “impressed” by what he had seen.
The event was also attended by defense ministers from Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. Stoltenberg met with Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Dutch Defense Minister Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert.
Iran's Press TV reported that Siemoniak had resorted to anti-Russian rhetoric Thursday. He asked NATO for an expansion of its military presence in the region.
According to Brig. Gen. Kees Matthijssen, nine countries deployed 2,100 troops within four days. The brigade commander of the interim VJTF said there were nine trains, 30 military convoys, 440 vehicles, 17 flights and more than 100 containers.
Stoltenberg earlier had a meeting in Warsaw with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. He praised Komorowski’s commitment and leadership to develop a strong military force.
Poland is going to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense in 2015. It will also host the Warsaw Summit in July 2016.