Friday

12th Aug 2022

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”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

Opinion

Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy

The Belgian parliament's recent decision to ratify its prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran is a grave mistake, and one which exemplifies the many downfalls of dealing with Iran's human-rights abuses on a case-by-case basis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts new season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us