The NATO chief made the announcement one day before President Biden — who is in Germany with other members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations — joins other heads of state and government in Madrid for a NATO summit expected to focus on the war in Ukraine and the future of the alliance.
Transforming NATO’s quick-response force, which currently has some 40,000 troops, is just one of the ways the 30-member alliance is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Leaders will also discuss plans to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank, outline a new force model, announce funding decisions and publish a “Strategic Compact” that lays out NATO’s strategy for the years ahead, according to NATO diplomats.
The last time the alliance published this type of strategy document, in 2010, ties with Russia were considerably warmer. The latest version “will make clear that allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security,” Stoltenberg said in a news conference.
Stoltenberg said the NATO summit will be “transformative, with many important decisions, including on a new strategic concept for a new security reality, a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defense, and support to Ukraine now and for the future.”
It could also yield news of Sweden and Finland’s applications to join NATO. Turkey has so far blocked the countries’ membership bids out of opposition to their stance on Kurdish separatist groups hostile to Ankara. Both Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said last week they expected to discuss the issue further with Turkey in the run-up to the summit in Madrid.
The document will also for the first time outline NATO’s view on China as a challenger, although NATO countries have yet to settle on the exact language that will be used, diplomats said. Stoltenberg said he expects the document to address “the challenges that Beijing poses to our security, interests and values.”
In Germany, Biden and other leaders of the G-7, a group that includes six NATO member states, agreed in a statement to “continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Timsit reported from London.