The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been preparing for a conflict with Russia since 2014, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. Addressing media reporters following the NATO summit in Madrid, he revealed that ever since Russian troops overhauled power in the Crimean Peninsula, the military alliance started beefing up its troops in eastern Europe. He revealed that they have been anticipating a confrontation with Russian troops ever since.
Stoltenberg said that Russians have been using force in the eastern Donbas since 2014, despite the fact that Kyiv’s forces have shelled cities in the region ever since Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence from Ukraine. “The reality is also that we have been preparing for this since 2014,” he said. “That is the reason that we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, why NATO allies have started to invest more in defence, and why we have increased [our] readiness.”
One of the prime reasons which Russian President Vladimir Putin stated before launching a military assault on Ukraine was NATO’s eastward expansion. Figures have revealed that the military alliance has indeed bolstered its economic spending on the Eastern Flank. "European members and Canada have increased their military expenditure by between 1.2% and 5.9% every year since 2014. However, only 10 out of 30 NATO states currently meet the bloc’s target of spending 2% of GDP on defence," according to a statement.