NATO is preparing for Russian military aggression

Author : Serhiy Sydorenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Russian issue is back on the agenda of NATO
11:09, 28 October 2016

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"The problem of Russia" was discussed throughout the first day meeting of defense ministers of NATO member states. It started with it all of its NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and that it was dedicated to the majority of applications of general secretary.

Every time he insisted and repeated: NATO does not take steps first, but only "reacts to Russia."

Related: NATO describes rotation of forces in Eastern Europe

For four repetition of the word "defense" and "responsible", 5 repetitions of the word "proportional", 9 mentioning of "dialogue" and 16 words "response" or "answer" - this dictionary accompanied the statements of Jens Stoltenberg. Russia's actions were mentioned with such epithets as "self-confident" or "unpredictable". After all, journalists began to joke that they can write the following speech for Stoltenberg. And despite the jokes, the agreements reached in Brussels have been very serious.

Baltic front

In fact, this meeting did not bring radically new posts - NATO countries agreed to strengthen "the northeastern flank" this summer.

At the July summit in Warsaw was announced that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland will be placed 4 battalions allies. Today's ministerial meeting was intended to agree on the details of the deployment. These "details" were more than significant.

Related: NATO official: Alliance and Ukraine to enhance cooperation in security sector

The first news was, of course, confirming the plans.

"Baltic" battalions will be established in early 2017 and the summer - fully staffed.

And the most important thing. This is already the news is the current Ministerial Meeting: "4 battalions" does not mean "4 country." The presence of NATO in the Baltic Sea will be truly international. Forces to protect allies will send 16 of the 28 NATO member countries. Together with the host countries – 19, the absolute majority.

This unity of the alliance was established by the Kremlin. Actions of Russia rallied in recent months, "anti-Russian coalition," and destroyed the arguments of its opponents.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO stands with Ukraine

"Along with our overseas actively carried out maneuvers including extensive training, which occur without warning. Just this month Russia was taken to Kaliningrad missiles" Iskander ", capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and suspended the agreement with the USA on the (recycling) of arms-grade plutonium. Russia also continues to destabilize eastern Ukraine, providing military and financial support for the separatists "- said Stoltenberg.

Even if we assume that tensions between Russia and NATO (especially considering the weight of the US in the alliance) for the last 2.5 years was somewhat familiar, the current "anti-Russian meeting" NATO's actions in the Baltic Sea is special.

For the first time this dialogue was joined by two Baltic states that are not members of the alliance - Sweden and Finland. As you know, these countries refuse NATO membership in order not to irritate Russia; especially in Finland, which has the longest land border with Russia. And in the present situation, they decided to join the talks on curbing Russia.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO and allies to assist Ukraine via trust funds

Not the Cold War

"NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia. We do not need new cold war, does not need a new "arms race." So NATO's actions are proportionate and defense," said the secretary-general on Wednesday evening.

The fact that the alliance "does not want the Cold War," Stoltenberg said as before. And allied officials regularly say about it, urging the media not to draw parallels between the current aggravation and relationships NATO-USSR. And in questions of journalists still occasionally pops analogy.

And the first and second have arguments.

Related: Ukraine as a major non-NATO ally of the US

The alliance stressed that currently there is nothing like the relationship of the Soviet period, when even the establishment of NATO, was intended to "countering the Soviet threat" and cooperation not mentioned at all. Now every alliance emphasizes that "seeks partnership with Moscow" not pleased that "Russia considers the enemy alliance." While these statements seem sometimes simply not serious - a "partnership" exists only in dreams and paper.

Statements about the absence of arms race also can be questioned, because this process is sufficient desire to one side. And the fact that Russia is a desire, even Stoltenberg admits.

"Russia for a long time conducts upgrading. Russia has tripled defense spending and invested a lot of money on the latest weapon. But most importantly - what they are willing to use force against its neighbors," said the NATO secretary general. That is why the alliance has to operate.

Related: Rasmussen admits that NATO can provide Ukraine with lethal weapons

Despite the desire of many NATO member states "not to quarrel with Russia", today alliance agreement is undeniable: the Kremlin is dangerous. Although the country officially allies say their new battalions reinforced presence in the East, increasing defense budgets and new infrastructure is "deterrence" at the same time admit to be ready if necessary to apply a "containment" in practice.

"NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia ... but the signal is very clear: an attack on one of us is an attack on the whole alliance," says Stoltenberg.

Turkish Black Sea

Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO before the ministerial meeting convinced journalists that the Baltic strengthening the alliance will add security and Ukraine.

Related: Poltorak: Ukraine aims to become major non-NATO ally of the U.S.

He is right, but only to a certain extent... so, any action to contain Russia in our favor. Yes, they distract the military and political resources of the Kremlin, which otherwise could be directed to the war in Ukraine.

And much more significant is the presence of NATO near our borders. Not in the Baltic Sea and the Black. Sources indicate that Turkey until recently blocked all initiatives on joint NATO presence in the Black Sea.

We should not write off all just a new period of "friendship" between Erdogan and Putin, moreover, that this "friendship" you really remember just quoted. The key interests, just business - yes, but mutual feelings of leaders rather like quiet contempt or even hatred.

Related: NATO: Undeclared Russian military drills only worsen relations with Alliance

But Turkey is a Black Sea region. It controls the Bosporus and Dardanelles and does not intend to give at least some control of anyone. It seemed that the negotiations on the "Black Sea NATO forces" stalled - despite the desire and request of Romania to strengthen its security. Therefore Warsaw Summit declared the Baltic battalions to contain Russia - but "forgot" about the existence of the Black Sea.

And so the news, announced on Wednesday night, was really sensational.

"We discussed progress in strengthening NATO presence in the Black Sea region, with a ground crew led by Romania. We are working presence in the air and at sea. I am pleased to announce that several states have declared their desire to facilitate the presence in the Black Sea region - on land, on water and on the sea, ... including Turkey," said the NATO secretary general.

And the arguments that led Turkey to listen to other states of the alliance are not a secret.

Related: Cold War 2.0: Why Russia holds so many military exercises near the borders with NATO and Ukraine

"Bloody Putin regime"

This term it often used by Russian opposition, but you would hardly hear it the statements of European officials and it just will not used by NATO. But the times are changing. Direct speech Secretary General of NATO ministerial meeting day:

"Russia has resumed bombing of Aleppo, increasing humanitarian catastrophe. Men, women and children die every day because of the shameful attacks (of the Russian Army) in their homes and even in hospitals. Russia must show real effort to stop the violence..."

Related: Poroshenko urges NATO to save Russia’s aggression in Ukraine issue on agenda

Such harsh statements by the secretary general (and he never says a word, without the consent of all NATO members) is an extraordinary change in the policy of the alliance.

In fact, the recent actions of Russia in Syria were recently straw that broke the patience of the alliance. And that is why even a hint secretary general was enough so that to stop the intention of fueling the Russian ships in the ports of Spain and Malta.

However, we must be realistic: over time, the relationship with Putin allies can be closer again.

But now we can be sure: the NATO consensus for comprehensive support of Kyiv. Support changes. Support for military reform. Only Ukraine depends on whether we take advantage of this historic opportunity. That is why NATO wants to be ready to such developments.

Related: NATO to monitor Russia’s troop maneuvers in Black Sea

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