NATO chief warns Putin ‘the whole alliance will react’ if he invades a member nation

Russia ‘using gas weapon’ to ‘break’ NATO says Mayall

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The news comes as the war surpasses six months since Russian troops invaded its southern neighbour causing NATO to take immediate action to bolster defences in Eastern Europe. A recent conference in Madrid saw alliance members pledge further defence spending, as well as making vows to provide Ukraine with defensive military equipment in order to defend against Russian advances.

Speaking of the current situation, Mr Stoltenberg, speaking on Thursday compared the conflict in Ukraine and the potential wider impact to World War 2.

He added NATO should continue its support of Ukraine to maintain Russian forces in check saying: “It’s in our interest that this type of aggressive policy does not succeed.

“What happens in Ukraine is terrible but it would be much worse if there was a war between Russia and NATO.

“This is the most dangerous situation in Europe since World War 2.”

Speaking of the notion all member states will be forced to intervene under Article 5 of the alliance, Mr Stoltenberg sent a message to Putin to avoid invading a NATO country.

He said: “If President Putin even thinks of doing something similar to a NATO country as he has done to Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine, then all of NATO will be involved immediately.”

Ukraine has been desperate to join the alliance but has been unsuccessful to date as the group fears wider conflict would follow triggering a war with Russia.

Moscow has also stated a red line would be drawn should Kyiv ever join the alliance.

Putin’s fears of NATO expansion have become a reality since the invasion of Ukraine.

Both Sweden and Finland have successfully applied to join NATO, placing two more members on the doorstep of Russia on its northwest front.

So far, 23 of the 30 current members have all but approved Stockholm and Oslo joining the alliance.

Speaking from the site of the horrific massacre where far-right extremist Anders Breivik killed 69 young people attending a youth league meeting, Mr Stoltenberg said: “This is not just an attack on Ukraine, an independent democratic nation with more than 40 million people, it’s also an attack on our values and the world order we want.”

The location of the speech ties in with Norway becoming a leading front in teaching democratic values, aimed at repairing the pain caused by the Breivik murders.

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On a wider front, NATO members are working closer than ever with defence companies to ensure Ukraine gets more weapons and equipment.

The move comes as many now accept the war is heading for a drawn-out timeframe, with little progress being made by Russia, and Ukraine digging in its heels with a strong defence, the arrival of western supplied arms has changed the dynamics of the conflict.

Mr Stoltenberg confirmed: “We are providing a lot of support but we need to do even more and be prepared for the long haul.”

Aside from the provision of hardware, NATO members are also providing training to Ukrainian troops.

Britain has vowed to train up to 100,000 Ukrainian troops in the UK, providing combat training, front-line first aid and tactical options.

Canada has also volunteered 225 troops to the UK to assist with the training.

Since 2015, Canada has trained over 33,000 Ukrainian soldiers and security personnel but had recently paused some aspects of the training.

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Non-NATO entities have also separately helped Ukraine.

The EU is set to send a financial aid package to Ukraine by the end of the month according to sources from Germany speaking to the Reuters news agency.

On the front line, the conflict continues to focus heavily on eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine has ceded some territory in the Donbas region to Russian forces, with Kyiv acknowledging Russia’s “partial success” in recent days.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, has described the pressure his forces are under in the east of the country as “hell”.

They have recaptured two villages near the city of Sloviansk, according to Ukrainian general Oleksiy Hromov, but have been forced to abandon a coal mine regarded as a key defensive position as forces are pushed to the outskirts of Avdiivka.

Follow me on Twitter @JamesLee_DE for more Defence and Security News

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