NATO calls Russia “the most important and direct threat”

Associated Press

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 18:24
Last updated: about 46 minutes ago

NATO declared Russia the “most serious and direct threat” to the peace and security of its member states on Wednesday, even accusing the alliance of Ukrainian leaders doing nothing more to defeat Moscow. Nevertheless, he vowed to strengthen support for Ukraine.

The accusations of military organizations were not entirely surprising: the chief previously said that the Russian war in Ukraine caused Europe’s largest security crisis since World War II. But calling Moscow a strategic partner 10 years ago was a cool look for the alliance.

Founded about 70 years ago to counter the Soviet Union, NATO held a summit in Madrid in a world transformed by Russia’s invasion of its neighbors. The war urged the alliance to inject troops and weapons into Eastern Europe on a scale not seen in decades, urging Sweden and Finland to seek the security of NATO accession.

Two formerly non-allied nations will officially join Wednesday as Secretary-General Jens Stoltemberg said the war has brought about “the greatest review of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.” I was invited to.

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented that NATO’s open door policy for new member states did not appear to apply to his country.

“NATO’s open door policy shouldn’t resemble the old ticket gates of Kyiv’s subway. It stays open, but closes when you get close to paying,” Zelenskyy said in a video link. “Are Ukraine paying enough?”

He also told leaders that he needed to demand a more modern artillery system and other weapons and provide the necessary support to Kieu or “face the delay in the war between Russia and yourself”. I warned.

“The question is who’s next? Moldova? Or the Baltic states? Or Poland? The answer is all of them,” he said. “We are blocking Russia to prevent it from destroying us or destroying you.”

Zelenskyy acknowledges that NATO membership is a distant outlook. Under the NATO Treaty, an attack on any of the 30 member states would trigger a military response by the entire alliance, so that they would arm Ukraine without causing a direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. , Trying to get a delicate balance.

At the same time, NATO moves swiftly to ensure that its members are protected, dramatically moving troops along the eastern side where countries from Romania to the Baltic states are worried about Russia’s future plans. Enlarged.

By next year, it plans to increase the size of the alliance’s rapid reaction from 40,000 to 300,000, about eight times as large. The army is based in its home country, but will focus on certain eastern countries where the Alliance plans to increase its inventory of equipment and ammunition.

US President Joe Biden, the country that provides most of NATO’s military power, has vowed that the summit will send “an unmistakable message that NATO is strong and united …”.

“We are stepping up, proving that NATO is needed more than ever,” Biden said. He announced a significant increase in US military presence in Europe, including a permanent US military base in Poland, two Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and two F35 squadrons to the United Kingdom.

Still, tensions among NATO allies are rising as the cost of energy and other necessities soars, partly due to the war and severe Western sanctions on Russia. There are also tensions on how the war will end and, if any, what Ukraine should concede.

Money is still a delicate matter. Only nine of NATO’s 30 members are now meeting the organization’s goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has achieved the goal, called on NATO’s allies to “deeper to restore deterrence and secure defense for the next decade.”

At the summit, leaders unveiled NATO’s new strategic concept, its once-in-a-decade set of priorities and goals.

The last such document in 2010 called Russia a “strategic partner.” At that time, the idea that Russia was fighting a land battle at the NATO border would have sounded tremendous.

NATO has now accused Russia of using “force, destruction, attack, annexation” to expand its reach.

This document also presents NATO’s approach to issues ranging from cybersecurity to climate change, and to expanding China’s economic and military reach.

NATO does not call China an adversary, but said Beijing’s “expressed ambitions and compulsory policies challenge our interests, security and values.”

“China does not share our values ​​and, like Russia, is trying to undermine the international rule-based order,” Stoltemberg said.

For the first time, leaders of Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand attended the summit as guests. This reflects the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region.

NATO also emphasized the need to address political instability in the Sahel region of Africa and the Middle East. This is exacerbated by “climate change, fragile institutions, health emergencies, food insecurity” and is driving a large number of immigrants to Europe. Host Spain and other European countries pushed this new focus.

The summit, which ends Thursday, began with one issue resolved after Turkey agreed to lift its opposition to NATO members Sweden and Finland on Tuesday.

NATO is run by consensus, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens to thwart the Nordic pair, claiming to change its position against Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists. did.

Stortemberg said the deadlock had been resolved after meeting with leaders from three countries.

The accession of both countries must be ratified by all countries, but Stoltemberg said he was “absolutely confident” that Finland and Sweden would soon join.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto is eager to get out of the “gray zone” that he has applied for membership, but said it has not yet been fully covered by NATO’s collective defense guarantee.

“Our goal is to make that period as short as possible,” he said. NATO calls Russia “the most important and direct threat”

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