NATO gives green light to new battle group in Slovakia

President Čaputová says move is welcome.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives for a media conference during an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 24, 2022NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives for a media conference during an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 24, 2022 (Source: SITA/AP)

NATO leaders have given the green light to a significant increase in the alliance's forces in Eastern Europe at an emergency summit in Brussels, which was also attended by US President Joe Biden.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said four new battle groups will be deployed to Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, the TASR newswire reported.

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NATO has agreed to strengthen its defences by moving 40,000 troops to its eastern flank in response to Russia's invasion – together with aerial and navy forces' support.

S-300 to stay in Slovakia if Russia leaves Ukraine, defence minister says Read more 

NATO will also strengthen defences on its eastern flank against chemical, biological and nuclear threats, Stoltenberg said.

At a press conference after the NATO summit, the alliance's chief said NATO's commander in Europe, US General Tod Wolters, had activated the organisation's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence. The alliance is deploying additional elements of chemical, biological and nuclear protection to strengthen existing and new battlegroups, TASR wrote.

More support for Ukraine

Alliance leaders also agreed to continue supporting Ukraine.

NATO will send more troops, anti-tank systems, drones, naval forces, and fighters to allied areas around Ukraine, Stoltenberg announced.

NATO leaders also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war immediately and withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. Belarus was also asked to halt its participation.

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President Zuzana Čaputová, who was also at the summit, said she welcomed the deployment of the NATO battle group in Slovakia.

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