SWEDEN and Finland have been approved to join NATO after applying for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It comes when the alliance has said it will deploy more than 300,000 troops in a deal with Vladimir Putin in what will be the largest force since the Cold War.
Finland only officially applied to join NATO the day after Russia first threatened nuclear weapons in a matter of seconds.
The sharp increase in troops on “high alert” comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.
Speaking at a briefing at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Jens Stoltenberg said:
“Together, this is the greatest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the Cold War.
“We will transform NATO’s response force and increase the number of our contingency forces to well over 300,000.”
Jens added that the 30-member alliance is expected to regard Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to our security”.
It is feared that Putin could strike at NATO, in particular Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which were once ruled by Moscow.
And the NATO chief also confirmed the strengthening of units deployed in eight eastern and southeastern NATO countries to deter Russian hostilities.
They will increase in size from 1,000 strong battalions to brigades, which include about 3,000-5,000 soldiers.
The leaders will also discuss plans to strengthen the alliance’s eastern flank, outline a new model of strength, announce funding decisions and publish a “Strategic Compact” outlining NATO’s strategy for the coming years, according to NATO diplomats.
NATO’s Response Force currently consists of approximately 40,000 soldiers, sailors and flight crews.
They are kept in varying degrees of readiness to mobilize, ranging from two days to six months.
It comes after The Sun reported that NATO is set to create a new 200,000-strong force to “wipe Russia off the face of the earth” if Putin invades an allied country.
The new Allied Response Force (ARF) will be six times larger than the current formation ready to repel Russian aggression, the NATO Response Force (NRF).
NATO’s political and military leaders have sought to use Russian aggression to stimulate the alliance.
British General Sir Patrick Sanders issued a rally urging troops to prepare to fight and defeat Russian forces in a third world war when he recently took command of Britain’s land forces.
And Russia has its own plans because a Kremlin warship recently violated NATO’s waters twice in what was described as an “unacceptable provocation.”
At the same time, an ally of Putin has threatened to exterminate Britain in a third world war and warned that NATO is “playing with fire”.
Buzhinsky’s frightening comments come when Lithuania – a NATO country – restricts the movement of goods out of Russian territory.