NATO vows to defend its entire territory after Russia attack

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia has launched war on Ukraine and that the security alliance will defend every inch of its territory.

Stoltenberg called for a summit of NATO leaders for Friday. He spoke shortly after the trans-Atlantic alliance agreed Thursday in emergency talks to further beef up its land, sea and air forces on its eastern flank near Ukraine and Russia.

Some of NATO’s 30 member countries are supplying arms, ammunition and other equipment to Ukraine. But NATO as an organization isn’t. It won’t launch any military action in support of Ukraine which is a close partner but has no prospect of joining.

Countries closest to the conflict – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have triggered rare consultations under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty. These can can be launched when “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the (NATO) parties is threatened.”

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have received the first batches of U.S. military troops and equipment promised this week by U.S. President Joe Biden in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

An undisclosed number of U.S. F-35 fighters landed Thursday afternoon at NATO’s air base in Amari, near Estonia’s capital Tallinn, Estonian media reported. F-35 fighters were reported to have arrived also at NATO’s air base in Lithuania.

On Wednesday evening, the first 40 American soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived in Latvia, Latvian media reported.