NATO Will Be Deploying Thousands Of Commandos To Nations Near Ukraine
EUROPE - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that the alliance sending thousands of Commandos to nations in Eastern Europe near Ukraine, and will be beefing up arms support and continuing to send weapons and air defenses to Ukraine and reinforcing defenses on allied territory (territory of NATO members in Eastern Europe).
Ukraine stated that Russian warships have shelled a Moldovan chemical tanker and Panamanian cargo ship headed for the load grain near Odessa port in the Black Sea Friday, just one day after Russia began invading Ukraine. Japanese Bulk carrier MV Namura Queen was also reportedly hit by a rocket at anchor off Yuzhne.
Ukraine's Infrastructure ministry stated that the vessel flying the Moldovan flag was called the Millennial Spirit and had been carrying 600 tons of diesel. According to Reuters, Moldova's naval agency reported that the crew of the Millennial Spirit were Russian and that two of them were seriously hurt.
"We just heard 10 minutes ago that all the crew were saved but two were seriously injured and are on the way to hospital" Vadim Pavalachi, deputy director at the naval agency stated.
The Ukrainian ministry also reported that the cargo ship called Namura was also hit by Russian missiles on Friday. A Ukrainian shipping agent Stark Shipping that is based in Odessa stated "According to the information of the traffic control and the service of the Harbor Master at 12:55 at anchorage point No.358 a rocket hit the stern of the mv 'NAMURA QUEEN'".
"The ship flying the flag of Panama was heading to the Pivdennyi port (ex. Yuzhny) to load grain ... There was a fire on the ship, the P&O STAR tug moved to the rescue. The situation is under control".
The North Atlantic Treaty Agreement (NATO) has now activated parts of its multinational response force. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, "We are deploying elements of the NATO Response Force. On land, at sea, and in the air. We will do what it takes to protect and defend every Ally, and every inch of NATO territory".
"Allies are very committed to continue to provide support. We are now deploying the NATO response force for the first time in the context of collective defense" Stoltenberg stated.
"There must be no space for miscalculation or misunderstanding. We will do what it takes to protect and defend every ally, and every inch of NATO territory" he added.
Stoltenberg stated that Russia is aiming to remove the Ukrainian government. He said, "We see rhetoric, the messages, which is strongly indicating that the aim is to remove the democratically elected government in Kyiv".
NATO had stated that they are partially activating their response force, which can be up to 40,000 troops but Stoltenberg said that the alliance won't be sending the entire force. Parts of a spearhead unit which is known as Very High Readiness Joint Task Forces that is led by France currently will be sent as well.
NATO members put out a statement saying "We will continue to take all measures and decisions required to ensure the security and defense of all allies. We will make all deployments necessary to ensure strong and credible deterrence and defense across the alliance, now and in the future."
Around 30 NATO members will be sending more arms and ammunition to Ukraine as well as other combat equipment but NATO has made it clear that the alliance itself will not be launching any military action supporting Ukraine or helping them in their war with Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected the offer by the United States to evacuate him from Kyiv, Ukraine. He had told NATO leaders earlier in the day that he may be killed if he remains in the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told both Finland and Sweden that if they join NATO there will be 'military military-political repercussions'.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences"
After that message by Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Minister put out another message over Twitter saying "We regard the Finnish government's commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe,' the department wrote. 'Finland's accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions".
Both Sweden and Finland share a border with Russia in the Arctic Circle. Putin has made it very clear that he does not want bordering countries to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization due to the fact that it could put NATO missiles at Russia's doorstep.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has said that they believe that Russia plans to threaten to kill the families of Ukrainian soldiers if they don't surrender to Russia according to a top official. We don't know how the Biden administration got this information, or why Russia would allow it to be announced beforehand but we'll keep you posted. This would, of course, be considered a war crime.
In the first 36 hours of fighting between Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has claimed to destroy 2,800 Russian troops, 80 Russian tanks, 10 aircraft, 7 helicopters and 516 armored combat vehicles while claiming that they have lost 137 of its citizens in the fighting.
Zelenskyy had put out an announcement that he will be arming 'anyone who wants to defend the country' saying "We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country” Zelenskyy tweeted. "Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities".
Ukrainian reporter for Kyiv Independent Illia Ponomarenko said that up to 18,000 rifles have been handed out so far to civilians as of Friday, tweeting "18,000 rifles delivered to volunteering street fighters in Kyiv now #BattleofKyiv".