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Stoltenberg: NATO not planning 'to match Russia soldier for soldier, tank for tank'

The alliance's aim is to prevent the conflict, not to provoke it, Jens Stoltenberg said

BRUSSLES, February 16. /TASS/. NATO has no plans to respond to Russia’s military buildup with equal number of soldiers and tanks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. 

"We will not match Russia soldier for soldier, tank for tank, or plane for plane. Our aim is to prevent conflict, not to provoke it," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Defence Ministers. 

"Our deployments [four multinational battle groups in Eastern Europe] are defensive and measured," he stressed. 

Battle groups deployment 

NATO expects four multinational battle groups deployed in in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to be fully operational by June, Stoltenberg announced: 

"Today, we agreed on the next steps to modernize the NATO Command Structure, based on recommendations from our senior commanders. We also received an update on the deployment of our new deterrent forces in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. And we expect the four multinational battle groups to be fully operational by June."

The Black Sea 

NATO will increase its naval presence in Black Sea to enhance training and situational awareness, Stoltenberg said:

"Today, we agreed on two additional maritime measures: an increased NATO naval presence in the Black Sea for enhanced training, exercises and situational awareness."

Stoltenberg pledged it would be done in line with NATO’s international liabilities, including the Montreux Document.