Sunday

20th Sep 2020

Nato's Russia-deterrent force 'fully operational'

  • Stoltenberg visited the Nato battalion in Latvia earlier in June (Photo: nato.int)

Nato has said its Russia-deterrent force in eastern Europe is “fully operational”, while calling on Moscow to be more transparent on an upcoming drill.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato head, told press in Brussels on Thursday (29 June) that “our enhanced forward presence is now fully operational in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland … This sends a clear message to any possible aggressor: we are determined, we are united”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mattis (l): "US commitment to our Nato Article 5 security guarantee is ironclad" (Photo: Jim Mattis)

He said new Nato command centres in Poland and in Romania had also been “activated” and that UK jets “are currently patrolling the region’s skies” as part of a Nato brigade in Romania.

He noted that Nato will in future spend more on making sure its planes are “able to operate in heavily defended areas, meaning able to operate in areas which are covered by A2AD”.

A2AD stands for “Anti Access/Area Denial” systems, such as those installed by Russia in Kaliningrad in the Baltic Sea, in Crimea in the Black Sea and in its Mediterranean military base in Syria.

Stoltenberg also called on Moscow to use an upcoming meeting of the Nato-Russia Council, a diplomatic forum, due before the summer break, to let it know what it plans to do during its “Zapad” military drill in the Baltic region in September.

“We expect Russia to follow those obligations, they haven’t done that so far,” he said, referring to the so called Vienna Document, an international accord on military transparency.

“Russia has used different loopholes and not notified and not facilitated international inspections of their exercises for many, many years,” he said.

“We are not mirroring exactly what Russia is doing but we are responding to a more assertive Russia,” he added.

James Mattis, the US defence chief, said Nato defence ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday had “focused on terrorism and Russia’s destabilising activities both in cyberspace and on the ground”.

Referring to the 4,500 Nato troops in the Baltic states and Poland, he said: “It is really quite energising to see young soldiers from across the Nato alliance working together in the forests of Lithuania and elsewhere”.

“When you put your troops on the ground under other nations’ command there in the forests, you are making a statement of unity,” he said.

Speaking earlier on Wednesday on a visit to Germany, Mattis also said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “making mischief beyond Russian borders”.

He noted that the US was planning to spend an extra $1.8 billion on its forces in Europe next year.

“Beyond any words in the newspapers, you can judge America by such actions,” he added, referring to doubts on America’s commitment to Nato joint defence that stemmed from US president Donald Trump’s flip-flopping comments on the issue.

“The US commitment to our Nato Article 5 security guarantee is ironclad,” Mattis said.

Mattis also noted that 39,000 European allies had fought with US soldiers in Afghanistan at the height of the conflict prompted by the 9/11 attack in New York.

The Nato presence in Afghanistan is now just 13,500 soldiers who are working to train native forces.

Nato ministers agreed to send more troops to the country on Thursday amid reports that Russia has begun arming the Taliban to cause problems for the US-led effort.

“Looking back on it, it’s pretty much a consensus that we may have pulled our troops out too rapidly, reduced the numbers a little too rapidly,” Mattis 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.

Nato head defends 'blunt' US leader

Nato chief Stoltenberg defended Trump’s behaviour at Thursday’s summit. The prime minister of Montenegro also apologised for him.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus president puts army on EU borders
  2. US: Lebanese group hoarding explosives in EU states
  3. Russia loses EU sanctions appeal
  4. UK guidelines explain Brexit treaty-violation plan
  5. Over 10,000 corona cases a day in France
  6. Greek police move Moria refugees following fire
  7. WHO warns Europe not to cut 14-day quarantine period
  8. MEPs urge EU Council to 'finally' protect rights in Poland

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Commissioner: No one will like new EU migration pact
  2. Buying an EU passport 'no use for evading sanctions'
  3. MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion
  4. EU to help draft Libya's strategy on border security
  5. Spain to recognise Kosovo if it gets Serbia deal
  6. Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens
  7. Does Erdoğan's long arm now reach Belgian universities?
  8. Biden threatens UK trade deal over Brexit shambles

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us