Militarily and politically, this marks a de facto return to a strategy of “forward defense”: under no circumstances will a single inch of territory be given to the enemy in case of an attack.
This set-up – meant to placate Tallinn and Warsaw, as well as Moscow – had been bolstered in the southeast with the deployment of additional troops to Romania in February, prior to the invasion of Ukraine. NATO’s Response Force (NRF), the rapid reaction unit, was also activated for the first time on February 25, 2022. Will NATO decide to send the troops Estonia is calling for? Either way, military presence in the Baltic states will quickly ramp up, and NATO’s new defense model implies the capacity to mobilize 100,000 troops in 10 days, and at least 300,000 in six months.
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