NATO chief warns Russia that it will 'never win a nuclear war' against the alliance
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would not win a nuclear war against the defensive alliance.
Stoltenberg's remarks came as leaders from member nations, including President Joe Biden, make their way to Brussels, Belgium for a summit to discuss how to stop Putin's carnage in Ukraine. He reaffirmed NATO's commitment to Article 5 – which states that an attack on one is an attack on all – and urged Putin to stifle his increasingly dangerous atomic blustering.
"Russia should stop this dangerous irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. But let there be no doubt about our readiness to protect and defend allies against any threat anytime," Stoltenberg said at a news conference as reported by Reuters.
"Russia must understand that it can never win a nuclear war. NATO is not part of the conflict ... it provides support to Ukraine but isn't part of the conflict," the secretary-general said.
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO has no plans to deploy battle-ready personnel into Ukraine.
"NATO will not send the troops into Ukraine," he said. "It is extremely important to provide support to Ukraine and we are stepping up. But at the same time it is also extremely important to prevent this conflict becoming a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia."
In the same address, however, Stoltenberg stated that NATO intends to increase its presence along its Eastern flank, which includes the countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. According to NBC News, 140,000 NATO troops are stationed throughout NATO's extensive border region with Ukraine. Of those, 100,000 are American.
Additionally, United States NATO Ambassador Julianna Smith said that NATO's beef-up could become permanent if the situation in Ukraine continues to worsen.
"NATO is in the process now of stepping back and thinking more about a medium and longer-term force presence in NATO territory on that eastern flank" to send a "pretty clear message to Moscow," said Smith. “Permanent stationing could be one solution, or persistent rotations as another option, that could be on the table. So at this point, what we need to do is have our military commanders give us the best advice that they can come to us with specific proposals and then as an alliance, look at what the security environment requires."
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