Nato is to increase its forces on high alert by more than sevenfold to 300,000 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as part of a sweeping overhaul to better protect its eastern flank. The Western alliance will also increase deployments close to Russia, shifting the focus from deterring any invasion to a full defence of allied territory. The new military blueprint will drastically upgrade NATO’s eastern defences. The new “strategic concept” will define NATO’s goals and approaches for the next decade, and on a vastly expanded plan to defend its easternmost allies. That will include new structures in which western Nato allies, such as the US, UK and France, would pledge their ships, warplanes and a total of more than 300,000 troops to be ready to deploy to specific territories on the alliance’s eastern flank, with graded response times starting from the opening hours of any attack. That would significantly upgrade the current model, where Nato has about 40,000 troops in its quick reaction force. The new approach will allow the alliance’s military commanders to know in advance, at any moment in time, exactly which forces are on standby and how quickly they could enter the battlefield. Russia will be designated as the most direct and immediate threat to security. Nato’s existing defence posture in the Baltics involves about 8,000 deployed foreign troops — led by the UK, Canada and Germany — to deter any possible invasion and act as a so-called tripwire in the event of one.


Current NATO’s Eastern Flank situation

  • 40,000 troops under direct NATO command
  • 100,000 US troops deployed to Europe
  • 130 Allied aircraft at high alert
  • 140 Allied ships at sea
  1. Norway: Over 30,000 troops from 27 countries 
  2. Poland: Allied troops 10,500 Poland 120,000
  3. Estonia: Allied troops 2,000 Estonia 7,000
  4. Lithuania: Allied troops 4,000 Lithuania 16,800
  5. Latvia: Allied troops 1,700 Latvia 7,400
  6. Slovakia: Allied troops 2,100 Slovakia 13,000
  7. Hungary: Allied troops 800 Hungary 24,000
  8. Bulgaria: Allied troops 900, Bulgaria 26,000
  9. Romania: Allied troops 3,300 Romania 76,000 




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