NATO is in an emergency session when Russia attacks Ukraine

BRUSSELS – Representatives of NATO gathered in an emergency session on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a large-scale attack on Ukraine, as a military organization of 30 countries prepares to strengthen its defenses in the neighboring allies. Preparations are also underway for the NATO summit.

“This is a serious violation of international law and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. According to him, the allies are going “to eliminate the consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions.”

While some member countries supply weapons, ammunition and other equipment to Ukraine, NATO as an organization is not and will not take any military action in support of Ukraine, which is a close partner but has no prospect of joining .

“We are together with the people of Ukraine at this terrible time. NATO will do everything possible to protect and defend all allies, ”Stoltenberg said.

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The countries closest to the conflict – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have initiated rare consultations under Article 4. NATO Constituent Treatywhich can be launched if “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either (NATO) parties is threatened”.

“The most effective response to Russia’s aggression is unity,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kalas tweeted. “Russia’s widespread aggression poses a threat to the world and to all NATO countries.”

Kalas called for measures “to ensure the protection of NATO allies.”

NATO began strengthening its defenses in northeastern Europe after Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in 2014. There are about 5,000 troops and equipment, but in recent months these forces have been reinforced by troops and equipment from several countries.

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The first step now could be to step up the NATO Response Force, which can number up to 40,000 troops. The rapidly deploying ground brigade, which is part of the NRC, consisting of about 5,000 troops and led by France along with Germany, Poland, Portugal and Spain, is already on high alert.

Some NATO members have also sent troops, planes and warships to the Black Sea region, alongside allies Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. The Pentagon has also put 8,500 U.S. troops on high alert, so they will be ready to deploy if needed to reassure other allies.

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Jan M. Olsen of Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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