The Chief of Staff added that the number of Russian ships in the North Sea increased last year and that the Belgian Airforce F-16 that have been guarding the airspace above the Baltic States have noted that the Russian military is active along the enire Russian border.
"There is Russian movement from Finland to down in the Caucasus and this is a cause for concern. This affects us too and it is constantly taken into account. The geopolitical context has changed and not in a good way. Collective defence is no longer a vague concept for NATO, it is a reality that we need to prepare ourselves for. Once this is enacted, straight away you are talking about high intensity conflicts”, Admiral Hofman said.
The interview was published in Monday’s editions of De Standaard, La Libre Belgique, Le Soir and La Dernière Heure.
Admiral Hofman stressed that Belgian troops wouldn’t necessarily be deployed straight away if Russia decided to invade Ukraine tomorrow.
"In Belgium too, there is a decission making process that must be respected. We ensure that the units that we have offered various NATO forces are in a maximum state of rediness”.
Admiral Hofman went on to say that if NATO’s High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is deployed the units that Belgium has available for it are ready. These are between 250 and 300 Belgian troops that as a company would be part of a larger formation that would be under French command. In addition to this Belgium has agreed to deploy extra F-16 jets and a frigate.