Eastern Nato nations demand better protection as Ukraine war rages
Nations on Nato’s eastern borders are demanding increased protection as the war in Ukraine rages and new countries apply for admission. The nine Nato members along the alliance's eastern flank held talks on Friday in Romania to discuss regional security issues before a major conference in Spain, where the body will reaffirm its values and to map out future goals this month. “We need to make sure that Nato is able and prepared to respond effectively and calibrated to the threats it faces,” Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said. “The alliance needs to be able to defend every inch of its territory. “The result we are pursuing is a consolidated Nato presence on the eastern flank, united and coherent, robust, credible and sustainable, especially on the Black Sea — the most exposed to Russia’s threats,” he added. Three Nato members — Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey — border the Black Sea, which has turned into a key battleground in the war in Ukraine.
The Black Sea is a major front in the Ukraine war. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said: “We are also counting on an increase of US presence in our part of Europe. “We want the enhanced forward presence that we have today on Nato’s eastern flank to be extended. “We want the existing battalion groups to be transformed into brigade groups. He said a brigade group contains about 3,000 troops, which would be a “significant and visible strengthening”. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nato bolstered its presence on its eastern flank by adding four multinational battle groups to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
That brought the total number of battle groups to eight and allowing Nato's presence to stretch from the Black Sea in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and Sweden both applied for Nato membership after the Ukraine war began. Romania’s president lauded Nato for “strengthening relations with partners in the region who are deeply exposed to Russian pressure and aggression” and expressed “firm support for Sweden and Finland’s” bids. But Turkey has questioned whether it will allow the two Nordic nations to join. The countries attending on Friday included Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
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