NATO has established 8 multinational battle groups in Poland and the Baltic nations, and more recently in Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, to serve as a “tripwire” in case of Russian attack.
By Natalia Drozdiak and Courtney McBride
With Finland officially in the alliance, NATO’s top commander can now work the country into its military plans, which sketch out how to defend the bloc’s members against an attack.
But given Finland’s extensive capabilities and practice defending its own territory, it’s unlikely at least for now that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will replicate defense structures on the rest of the eastern flank by stationing allied battle groups in the nation, according to officials familiar with the issue.
NATO has already established eight multinational battle groups in Poland and the Baltic nations — and more recently in Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania — to serve as a “tripwire” in the case of a Russian attack. Those battle groups will also be able to scale up to brigade size, where and when required.
There are currently no plans to deploy a NATO battle group to Finland, a NATO official said, adding that NATO’s supreme allied commander constantly assesses threats and could make that recommendation if deemed necessary. A senior US official also said Americans didn’t expect to see a battle group in Finland and that the country hasn’t made such a request.
“For years, we have developed our NATO compatibility. There is still considerable work ahead to integrate Finland’s defense as part of NATO’s common defense,” President Sauli Niinisto said at Tuesday’s accession ceremony. “The Finnish defense forces are facing new demands and challenges to which we must respond.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Russia viewed NATO expansion as an encroachment on its security and that it would take countermeasures, according to the state news service Tass.
General Chris Cavoli, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, is currently drafting the alliance’s regional plans, which are due to be sent to allies this month and which will spell out where countries will need to allocate forces to defend the alliance.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto wouldn’t be drawn on the troop issue, signaling that will be discussed during defense planning. He noted Sweden’s pivotal role — the reason why Finland wants its neighbor allowed in quickly.
“It’s very difficult to make a defense plan for the Nordic countries without Sweden,” Haavisto said. “If you take Sweden out of the map, there is a hole, and if you look at our food security or maintenance of our economy, Sweden is the route to Finland.”
Finland’s military, which can deploy 280,000 troops in wartime thanks to its conscription-based system, has long trained in defending its territory against attack and already has its own combat-ready battle groups in place, the NATO official said. What’s more likely is that Finland will contribute troops to the other existing battle groups, the official added. The professional force is relatively slim.
Finland is bringing a slew of assets to the alliance. In addition to a long tradition of military intelligence with a strong understanding of Russia, the Nordic country has also invested in areas where the alliance needs to step up including artillery and munitions, the NATO official said. Still, Finland will need to invest to get its army and air force in shape to deploy abroad across the alliance, which will require logistics and sustainment forces along with training, the official added.
Twitter Inc. was sued by contract workers who argue they were a “contingent workforce” with the same duties as employees and shouldn’t have been laid off without notice when Elon Musk took over the company.
The class-action complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court is the latest legal fallout from Musk’s rapid move in November to eliminate more than half of Twitter’s head count just after he acquired the company for $44 billion.
The suit was brought on behalf of an unspecified number of workers hired by Twitter through employee staffing company TEKsystems Inc., which was also named as a defendant in the case.
“The employees Twitter paid through TEKsystems were not temporary employees,” according to the suit. Instead, they were routinely told they would have the opportunity to become direct Twitter employees, and “are part of the same mass layoffs affecting employees directly employed by Twitter,” according to the complaint.
The workers hired and paid through TEKsystems weren’t given 60 days advance written notice when they were terminated, as required under federal and California law, according to the suit.
Twitter didn’t specifically responded to a request for comment.
Representatives of TEKsystems had no immediate response to a request for comment.
The social media platform in January won a ruling requiring laid-off workers who had signed arbitration agreements to resolve their grievances about being cheated out of severance pay in closed-door hearings overseen by private judges instead of through a class-action suit in open court.
The case is Gadala v. Twitter, 23-cv-1595, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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