NATO will defend all its allies and territory against a Russian attack, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday, as he arrived for a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels.
“Ours is a defensive alliance. We seek no conflict. But if conflict comes to us we are ready for it and we will defend every inch of NATO territory,” he told reporters, while condemning what he called Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, reports Reuters.
“And overnight, we’ve also seen reports about the attack against a nuclear power plant. This just demonstrates the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it and the importance of Russia withdrawing all its troops and engaging in good faith in diplomatic efforts.”
Meanwhile, as Russia marches on its warpath, encircling Ukrainian cities and bombing civilian buildings, the Pentagon has deployed some 12,000 troops to NATO member nations within spitting distance of Ukraine, a massing of infantry, aircraft and tanks not seen since the Cold War.
President Joe Biden has vowed those troops will not fight for Ukraine, instead framing their presence as a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin that any advance past Ukraine’s borders and into NATO territory would trigger direct conflict. Nearly 5,000 troops with the 82nd Airborne Division serve as the largest component of US combat power in Poland — training with Polish forces and available to provide humanitarian assistance as more than one million Ukrainians have fled their country.—Agencies