El País learned about NATO’s plans for the largest deployment in Europe in 30 years

NATO may decide during the Madrid summit to increase the number of troops stationed in Europe, which will be the bloc's largest deployment since the end of the Cold War. Countries close to Russia are asked to form divisions

NATO countries during the upcoming summit will discuss a possible strengthening of the alliance's presence in Europe, if approved, the number of military personnel deployed on the continent of the bloc will be the largest since the end of the Cold War, El País writes, citing sources.

“Some countries want to move from the current presence in the east of the alliance, consisting of battle groups, to brigades, & mdash; informed interlocutors of the newspaper reported.

Currently, the combat groups stationed in Eastern Europe number from 1-1.6 thousand military, the brigade formation implies an increase in their number at least twice, the newspaper writes. New units can also be armed with more sophisticated weapons, they will be given greater autonomy of action. Members of the alliance closer to Russia insist on the need to form divisions under the command of generals, the number of soldiers in it can reach 15 thousand.

Discussions on the largest deployment took place on Saturday, June 25, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, El País sources said. According to them, the countries of the bloc intend to update the provisions of the “Position of Defense and Deterrence”, based, in particular, on the set of weapons and troops available to NATO to respond to potential security threats to the Euro-Atlantic region. The Alliance thus intends to demonstrate its readiness to protect its members, the newspaper writes.

El Pa&iacute's sources also noted that the new NATO strategic concept, which is planned to be adopted at the summit, actually “buries ties” with Russia, which have developed until recently. Unofficially, the document is already called the “Madrid Concept”, they note.

In the current strategic concept “Active participation, modern defense” (2010), in relation to Russia, it was said that the country “does not pose any threat”, and cooperation with official Moscow was recognized as “strategically significant”. The new version of the document classifies Russia as a direct and immediate threat due to fear of aggression against members of the alliance, El País interlocutors told.

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NATO's Strategic Concept defines the alliance's long-term strategy. It outlines NATO's goals and fundamental security objectives, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing the Alliance. The NATO Summit will be held in Madrid next week — from 28 to 30 June.

Alliance officials have spoken about changing NATO's strategic concept at the Madrid summit more than once. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the forthcoming document “the basis for the era of strategic rivalry.” The U.S. representative to the alliance, Julianne Smith, said: “We basically agree that Russia is the top challenge, the top threat that NATO is currently facing.” The White House announced “broader balance-of-power announcements.”

At the same time, the United States, NATO and other European countries have repeatedly stated that they do not want a military confrontation with Russia. US President Joe Biden pointed out that such a scenario would lead to a world war. This, in particular, he explained the decision not to send US troops to Ukraine. At the same time, after the start of the special operation in Ukraine, NATO reinforced its military contingent in a number of Eastern European countries— Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Bloomberg sources said that Germany intends to increase the number of alliance military deployed in the Baltics.

Russia, for its part, accuses NATO and the United States of ignoring key security issues. In early February, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was “thrown, well, just deceived”; in connection with the broken promise not to expand the alliance to the east. He called Russia’s special operation in Ukraine in early May a “preemptive rebuff,” since Western countries were supplying weapons to Kyiv and everything indicated that “a clash with neo-Nazis, Bandera, on whom the United States and its younger partners staked, would be inevitable.”

NATO denied Russia's promises not to expand the alliance to the east. “There is no solution anywhere in which the NATO countries agreed to abandon what is written in the founding NATO treaty, the Washington Treaty” — explained Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

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