NATO vows to 'defend every inch' of its territory as it overhauls strategy - and warns Russia to withdraw from Ukraine

June 29, 2022

NATO has vowed to "significantly strengthen our deterrence and defence" capabilities as the alliance adopts a "new strategic concept", with a warning to Russia that it must "immediately" withdraw from Ukraine.

Leaders from the 30 members have been meeting in Madrid to discuss the war in Ukraine, support for Kyiv, and how to combat Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They are also looking to overhaul NATO's strategies and boost forces.

Setting out a blueprint for threats and challenges, the alliance promised to "defend every inch" of its territory as it outlined a "deterrence and defence posture" based on a mix of "nuclear, conventional and missile defence capabilities".

Beyond Russia, its newly published Strategic Concept described China as a challenge to "our interests, security, and values" - and said Beijing "strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the concept represented "fundamental shifts in our defence" and that it is the "first time since the Cold War" that such plans have been in force.

Among the announcements are plans to:

• Strengthen forward defences
• Enhance presence on eastern flank
• Increase the number of high-readiness forces to well over 300,000
• Boost ability to reinforce any ally
• Strengthen command and control

US enhancing military presence in Europe - live Ukraine updates

Ukraine's leader President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hailed the summit as "crucial and groundbreaking" and said: "Today is really the beginning of a new history.

"In a time of (an) extremely aggressive Kremlin, the world needs an extremely bold alliance," he added.

But Mr Zelenskyy warned: "You are now adopting the strategy of the alliance - and this is first and foremost a strategy for the security of your societies, your states. Strategy for 10 years.

"A hundred and twenty-six days of full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Cruise missiles, torture, children murdered, women raped… We do not have 10 years. Do you have them? Are you really sure about that?"

He went on: "While democracies were calling on the Russian leadership to have reason and morality, Russia was accumulating power and missiles. You, the democratic leaders, have urged it to respect international law, but tyrants understand force. And force only."

Mr Zelenskyy said he looked forward to a common victory, but said other states could be fired on by Russia and that would be "our common failure".

Speaking about Russian aggression, he went on: "It does not want to stop in Donbas or somewhere in the south of Ukraine, it wants to absorb city after city, all of us, and then all in Europe, whom the Russian leadership considers its property, not independent states. This is Russia's real goal.

"The question is - who is next for it? Moldova? Or the Baltic countries? Or Poland? The answer is - all of them."

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