Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NATO agrees Russian deterrent but avoids Cold War footing

By Robin Emmott and Phil Stewart, Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO agreed on Wednesday its boldest steps yet to deter Russia from any attack in the Baltics or eastern Europe, setting out ways to rapidly deploy air, naval and ground forces without resorting to Cold War-era military bases.

In an effort to dissuade Moscow after its 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO defence ministers will rely on a network of new alliance outposts, forces on rotation, warehoused equipment and regular war games, all backed by a rapid-reaction force.

"Russia is a threat," Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas told Reuters at an alliance meeting in Brussels. "It is Moscow's actions in Crimea, their support for separatists in Ukraine and their snap exercises that concern us".

The measures, which British Defence Minister Michael Fallon said proved that "NATO means what it says", showed a unity the West has not been able to muster against Russia in Syria, where the United States faces criticism for not stopping the Russian-backed assaults on rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

(More here.)

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