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NATO Deploys 30 Warships to Baltic Ahead of Nuclear Drills, ‘United and Determined Response’

NATO is talking tough as it prepares for drills that simulate the use of nuclear weapons in Europe. The drills, which take place next week, come against a backdrop of escalating Russian rhetoric concerning nuclear weapons — bombast that has increased as Russian battlefield success has decreased in its invasion of Ukraine. NATO also announced Tuesday that it has increased its Baltic Sea patrols to 30 warships, to prevent attacks on infrastructure that is critical to NATO nations. Although Russia has been ramping up its nuclear rumblings, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the alliance would not cancel the exercise, which was planned long in advance of the Ukraine invasion. “I think it would send a very wrong signal if we suddenly now canceled a routine, long-time planned exercise because of the war in Ukraine. That would be absolutely the wrong signal to send. And we need to understand that NATO’s firm, predictable behavior, our military strength, is the best way to prevent escalation,” he said, according to a transcript of his comments posted on NATO’s website. NATO’s “Steadfast Noon” exercise runs for about a week and involves nuclear-capable fighter jets, although no live bombs are used, according to the Associated Press. Fourteen nations will be taking part in the exercise, which is taking place more than 625 miles from Russia, AP quoted a NATO official it did not name as saying. Stoltenberg’s comments came ahead of a two-day meeting of defense ministers of NATO nations, according to the Daily Mail. During his remarks, he said Russia’s recent attacks on civilian targets were “a sign of weakness. Because the reality is that they’re not able to make progress on the battlefield. Russia is actually losing the battlefield. They are giving up territory because they don’t have the capabilities to stop the Ukrainian forces making advances.” [firefly_poll] U.S. ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith agreed, saying, “ President Putin is failing to meet his strategic objectives on the ground, and this has been a reoccurring theme for him personally since this war started,” according to the Daily Mail. During his comments, Stoltenberg said NATO “will also address the protection of our critical infrastructure.” He said that “following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, we have further enhanced our vigilance across all domains. We have doubled our presence in the Baltic and North Seas to over 30 ships supported by maritime patrol aircraft and undersea capabilities.” “Any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” he continued. Stoltenberg’s comments came the day after German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said NATO member Germany was sending four air defense systems to Ukraine, within days, according to Reuters. “The renewed missile fire on Kyiv and the many other cities show how important it is to supply Ukraine with air defense systems quickly,” Lambrecht said in a statement. “Russia’s attacks with missiles and drones terrorize the civilian population in particular. That is why we are now providing support, especially with air defense weapons.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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