Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Nato to strengthen military exercises after Russia 'aggression'

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the transatlantic military alliance will draw up new defence plans following Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine.

In an interview with French regional newspaper Midi Libre, published Sunday (4 August), he said that “Russia's aggression was a warning and created a new security situation in Europe”.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Vladimir Putin - "violence generate violence" (Photo: kremlin.ru)

"We will strengthen military exercises and prepare new defence plans," he said, reports AFP.

With an eye on what is turning out to be a key Nato meeting in Wales at the beginning of September, Rasmussen drew attention to the defence-spending discrepancies between Russia and Nato members.

He noted that while Russia had increased its defence spending by 50 percent over the past five years, Nato countries have, on average, reduced theirs by 20 percent.

"We must reverse this trend," he said.

He said that he regretted that Russia considered Nato a foe but "we have to adapt to this new situation".

Rasmussen's comments came on the back of a letter from British leader David Cameron to Nato leaders calling on them to "make clear to Russia that neither Nato nor its members will be intimidated”.

The Alliance's member states should “strengthen (their) ability to respond quickly to any threat" while the 4-5 September meeting should agree “a new exercise schedule adapted to the new security environment”.

The statements come after a raft of EU sanctions - the latest round hitting Putin's inner circle - have failed to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine where Russia-backed separatists are fighting for control in eastern parts of the country.

The scale of the crisis increased after the Malaysia airplane was shot down on 17 July over separatist-held territory in Ukraine killing all passengers on board. Russia's failure to help secure the crashsite afterwards hardened attitudes further.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, used a speech on 1 August commemorating the outbreak of WW1 to remind Europe that "peace is fragile".

“Humankind should grasp one truth: violence generates violence."

At the same time the Russian defence ministry announced military exercises in all defence districts and that it would be calling up reserve forces in all areas. It later said that this had been planned for months and was not a reaction to events in Ukraine.

On Monday (4 August) Radio Free Europe reported that Russian military officials said they have launched four days of military exercises in central and western regions of Russia.

Interfax quoted Russian Air Force spokesman Igor Klimov as saying that exercises include the use of 100 military aircraft.

In comments before the weekend, Germany's chief of relations with Russia Gernot Erler warned against the crisis increasing to an extent that there is "direct" military intervention by Russia.

He said Putin is "under very strong pressure not to let Russian-speaking inhabitants of east Ukraine – who he has taken under protection – in the lurch.”

If the separatists were facing a defeat, no one could exclude an intervention by Moscow, he told the Neue Osnabrueker newspaper. “It would be a terrible escalation if it came to a direct intervention (by Moscow),” he said.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

EU steps up global counter-terrorism drive

EU foreign ministers vowed to increase the number of projects and financial support in different parts of the world ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, where leaders will focus on security and defence.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Latest News

  1. 'USB condoms' and migration on Estonia's EU agenda
  2. EU parliament should befriend transparency
  3. EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping
  4. EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline
  5. G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance
  6. Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate
  7. May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights
  8. UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit