NATO should always be ready to ‘expect the unexpected’: Commander

NATO should always be ready “to expect the unexpected” as a defensive alliance, chair of the alliance’s Military Committee said Thursday.

“The timelines for collective defense are very different from crisis management. Since we are a defensive alliance, it is very much our adversary who determines the timeline,” Adm. Rob Bauer told a press conference after the Military Committee in Chiefs of Defense Session in Brussels.

Bauer said a new era for NATO has begun and the alliance has shown that “it is capable to swiftly and effectively change its posture.”

He said Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began in February, has presented “us with a new strategic reality.”

“Ukraine will never accept Russian occupation and NATO will support Ukraine for as long as necessary,” Bauer added. “There are many lessons to be learned from the war in Ukraine. Most importantly, it has once again proven the importance of morale, to know what you are fighting for.”

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Tod Wolters said NATO supports Ukraine in its resistance to the “invasion.”

“Allies are providing light and heavy equipment. All of this is making a difference helping Ukraine defend its people, its territory, and its free and democratic future,” he said. “NATO resolve and unity is as great as it’s ever been. The performance of our Ukrainian partners facing this aggression has been very, very impressive.”

On digital transformation, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Philippe Lavigne said: “We are, first of all, convinced that we have to continue with building our capacity to engage and be able to operate in multi domain operations … in all five operational domains land, sea, air, space and cyber.”

The digital transformation will make the alliance “more agile, and even more coherent, and this digital transformation is the most important enabler of multi domain operation,” he added.

Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. For Western countries, however, it is a war of aggression. Besides imposing severe sanctions on Moscow, they are supporting Kyiv through humanitarian, economic, and military means.

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