NATO chief says alliance deploying parts of quick response force over Russian invasion

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: NATO chief says response force being deployed against Russian aggression'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: NATO chief says response force being deployed against Russian aggression
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the military alliance will deploy elements of its quick response force and broader allied response force to Eastern European member states amid fears that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could spread to other regions. – Feb 25, 2022

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will deploy elements of a quick response military force with the goal of preventing “spillover” of the violent and unprovoked war launched by Russia against Ukraine early Thursday morning.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the decision in a press conference on Friday, saying the force first created following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea will now be called upon as part of the military alliance’s response to the latest bloody campaign of Russian aggression.

“The Ukrainian forces are fighting bravely and are actually able to inflict damage on the invading Russian forces. But again, it is a very fluid and evolving situation,” Stoltenberg said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a “terrible strategic mistake.”

Read more: Explosions rock Kyiv as Ukraine capital prepares for Russian assault

Click to play video: 'Russia invades Ukraine: NATO activates rapid response force for first time'
Russia invades Ukraine: NATO activates rapid response force for first time

The military alliance, comprising European and North American security partners, is resolute in imposing consequences on Russia as well as Belarus, which has supported the Russian invasion.
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And Stoltenberg said the deployment of “elements” of both the NATO Response Force and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) specifically is meant to make it clear that no threat to eastern European member states will be tolerated.

“This goes far beyond Ukraine. This is about how Russia is actually challenging, contesting core values for our security and demanding that NATO should withdraw all forces and infrastructure from almost half our members,” said Stoltenberg.

“And they have stated that if you do not do that, if you don’t meet their demands, there will be what they call ‘military technical consequences.’ So we have to take this seriously. That’s exactly why we are now deploying the NATO Response Force for the first time in the collective defence context.”

The VJTF is what Stoltenberg described as the “lead element” of the 40,000-strong NATO Response Force. It was created in 2014 in response to crises in the Middle East and Russia’s invasion of Crimea, and “is permanently available to move within days to defend any Ally.”

France is currently leading the VJTF, which includes several thousand troops largely comprising those from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Poland.

Click to play video: 'NATO head condemns Russian attack on Ukraine: ‘This is barbaric’'
NATO head condemns Russian attack on Ukraine: ‘This is barbaric’

Earlier this week, the Canadian government announced a series of sanctions imposed on 58 Russian elites and banking institutions in concert with allies, billing the move as a “severe” consequence for Putin’s actions. In addition, Canada cancelled roughly $700 million worth of Russian export permits.

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An electronic warfare unit from the Canadian Forces is bound for Latvia, along with an artillery battery, a military patrol aircraft, and a naval frigate.

Canada’s contributions are set to deploy within 30 days to six weeks, a timeline retired Lt.-Gen. Mike Day told Global News like reflects the challenges of working in the area right now.

“The area that we’re deploying to, every other NATO nation is also trying to get in there,” said Day, former commander of Canada’s special forces. “So it’s not like it’s only Canada doing this.”

That accounts for factors like the need to get medical checks and legal briefings for troops, as well as sorting out where they will sleep, what they will eat, how operations will refuel, and how equipment will be transported.

“These things take a little while to put in place,” Day added.

The sanctions announced so far have not included Putin personally or Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister.

“There will be other sanctions coming, and that’s important for the Canadian public to understand,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly on Thursday.

“We want to be sure to put maximum pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime.”
Click to play video: 'Canada ramps up military aid for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia'
Canada ramps up military aid for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia

Read more: Canada targets Russian elites, major banks in new sanctions amid Ukraine invasion

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the message is aimed at inflicting pain on those closest to the Russian president, who have long benefited as oligarchs with luxuries and freedoms denied to most Russian citizens.

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“You are not going to be able to be a high roller enjoying all of the things that Western democracy has created and continue to support this evil, barbaric policy,” Freeland said.

She was also blunt in her assessment of the dangers posed to the rules-based international order if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is allowed to go unchallenged.

“We cannot allow this to be the end of the post-WW2 rules-based order. It could be,” said Freeland, who is Ukrainian-Canadian.

“This is an extremely serious challenge to that order, and if Russia succeeds, then that order will be breached.”

Click to play video: 'Freeland appeals to Ukrainian-Canadians amid Russian attack: ‘Now is the time for us to be strong’'
Freeland appeals to Ukrainian-Canadians amid Russian attack: ‘Now is the time for us to be strong’

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