Wednesday

25th Apr 2018

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”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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. UN expects over $4bn in pledges for Syria
  2. Commission wants more public data made available for reuse
  3. Study: Brexit will hit all European farmers
  4. European media face rise in 'verbal violence' from politicians
  5. Greenland PM to keep power despite poll slump
  6. Commissioner optimistic on FYROM name solution
  7. Italian court keeps NGO migrant rescue boat docked
  8. German Jews warned not to wear skullcap in public

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. EU should not play 'games' with military HQs, ex-forces chief says
  2. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work
  3. Time for EU to take charge of global health research agenda
  4. EU in race to set global Artificial Intelligence ethics standards
  5. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  6. Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ
  7. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  8. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  5. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  8. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  9. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  10. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  11. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  12. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan