Worried About Russia's Next Target, NATO Fighter Patrol 24 Hours to Protect Alliance Countries

Worried About Russia's Next Target, NATO Fighter Patrol 24 Hours to Protect Alliance Countries
NATO Fighter Patrol 24 Hours to Protect Alliance Countries

Oslo - NATO fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft patrol around the clock 24 hours to protect its member states. The alliance fears its member states will be the next target of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion after Ukraine.

NATO on Thursday shared a video on Twitter of the effort, showing the planes and their pilots in action. "NATO is working to protect the skies of its allies in Eastern Europe with more jets flying from air bases and aircraft carriers throughout the alliance and by bringing in additional deterrence and defensive capabilities," the video reads.

Further captions in the video say; "NATO also supplies a constant defense presence and monitors airspace in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania." All of those countries are in or near NATO's eastern flank near Russia.

Two East NATO members; Estonia and Latvia, share a border with Russia. "Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO forces are ready to secure allied airspace from all threats," the video said.

While Putin has not definitively voiced plans to expand "special military operations" in Ukraine, he did say that countries that created a strategic threat to Russia during the conflict should expect a retaliatory strike.

Russia's state television station and some of its allies have made direct threats against NATO members; Poland. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned during a speech at the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, that not supplying Ukraine with modern artillery systems and other weapons could result in the NATO military alliance facing a delayed war with Russia.

"The question is, who's next? Moldova? Or the Baltics? Or Poland? The answer is: Everyone," Zelensky said at the time. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the threat that an expanded Russian war could pose against NATO countries.

While speaking at a press conference at the 2022 NATO summit, Stoltenberg said that a full-scale war between NATO and Russia would cause suffering, damage, death, destruction on a far scale. "Much worse than what we saw in Ukraine today," he said. "The Alliance stands ready to protect every inch of NATO territory and any attack will trigger a full response from the entire alliance," he said.

The US had announced in June that it would deploy its first permanent troops on NATO's East flank as concerns continue to rise over a potential war between Russia and the 30-member alliance.

Putin has sought to justify his invasion of Ukraine, at least in part, by citing the prospect of NATO expansion, though it appeared to backfire when neutral European countries such as Sweden and Finland launched their bids to join NATO in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine. Russia's aggression in Ukraine has also prompted several Eastern European countries to move forward with deals to purchase the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from the US.

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