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NATO defense ministers prepare for leaders’ summit in Vilnius

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Defense chiefs to assess plans on increasing defense spending, ramping up military production on 2nd day of Brussels meeting

NATO defense ministers continued on Friday their meeting with preparations for the leaders’ summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

In his speech opening the session, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the military alliance is “facing the most serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security for a generation” because of Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

He said 40,000 NATO troops backed by “significant maritime and air assets” are already on high alert, but the military alliance must continue strengthening its defense and deterrence posture.

In preparation for the NATO leaders’ summit to be held in the Lithuanian capital on July 11-12, NATO defense ministers will “review our updated plans for the defense of Europe,” Stoltenberg said.

They will also assess solutions to ramp up the military production “to ensure our industrial base can meet higher demand,” he added.

NATO is also working on a more ambitious defense investment pledge that sets 2% of gross domestic product “as a minimum to invest in defense,” Stoltenberg said.

On the first day of the meeting on Thursday, NATO defense ministers held talks with their Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov on providing further support for Kyiv.

Besides immediate military supply, NATO is also expected to adopt a multi-year support package for Ukraine to rebuild its security and defense sector, and transition to NATO standards.

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