NATO considers sending more air defense to Ukraine, prepares nuclear drills

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that the allies were considering sending more air defense systems to Ukraine after Russia’s heavy-handed attacks on Ukrainian cities on Monday.

Ahead of a two-day meeting of allied defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, the head of the Atlantic alliance insisted it was providing support for that reason and despite the fact that “NATO is not part of the conflict”. It affirms that such support will continue “as long as needed”, with “a fundamental role” to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“We are working with NATO allies to consider deploying more sophisticated defense systems to improve Ukraine’s air defense,” the secretary general said.

“We need to be prepared for any eventuality, which is one of the topics to be discussed tomorrow at the meeting with defense ministers of NATO allies,” he added.

At a time when the Kremlin is threatening the West with nuclear weapons, Jens Stoltenberg asserted that “President Putin’s nuclear threats are dangerous and irresponsible.”

He assured that “Russia knows that a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought”, but in any case “we are closely monitoring Russian nuclear forces”.

The secretary-general also said the military exercises planned for next week, “Steadfast Noon”, could involve nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that “this is a routine exercise that takes place every year.”

According to a German newspaper Berliner SontagsplatzIn the military training exercise, “Steadfast Noon”, NATO forces train, among other maneuvers, “systems for launching nuclear weapons and warships are refined between craters”.

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The Secretary General made it clear that NATO would protect all allies and that nuclear deterrence was “safe and effective”.

On Russia’s nuclear threat, Stoltenberg said the Allies are closely monitoring it, but have yet to see any moves in that direction.

“NATO is ready to defend its allies, it always was and even more so when Russia invaded Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

(News updated at 3:26 p.m.)

*With Lusa

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