NATO is reacting to Russia’s war policy with far-reaching decisions. In the future, more than seven times as many soldiers as before will be on standby for emergencies.

In view of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the 30 NATO countries have decided to significantly strengthen the eastern flank.

In addition, the heads of state and government agreed on a new armed forces model at the summit in Madrid on Wednesday, as the German Press Agency learned from alliance circles. It envisages keeping more than 300,000 soldiers on high operational readiness in the future. The previous NATO rapid reaction force NRF is to be replaced by the new armed forces model. It only has a size of around 40,000 soldiers.

According to Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, the Bundeswehr’s contribution to the new concept will be at least one large unit. “Germany is ready to make its contribution. We have already announced that we are ready to provide a division, i.e. 15,000 soldiers, and of course the corresponding material, »said the SPD politician on Tuesday evening.

According to the concept approved on Wednesday, the existing multinational NATO battlegroups on the eastern flank are to be expanded to brigade level. For example, the unit in Lithuania currently has 1,600 soldiers. A brigade usually consists of around 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. Germany has already announced that it wants to lead the Combat Troops Brigade in Lithuania.

In peacetime, the more than 300,000 rapid reaction forces in the future should generally be under national command, but could then be requested by the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe (Saceur) in an emergency. The troops would also be given fixed times for operational readiness. It is being discussed that some units should be ready for laying within 10 days at most, others in 30 or 50 days. Details for emergencies are to be specified in new regional defense plans, which should be ready next year.