While Anders Fogh Rasmussen speeds up the creation of a rapid action force against Russia, Vladimir Putin will alter Russia’s military doctrine to repeal new threats coming from within NATO
MOSCOW – NATO is prepared for any contingency that threatens its Member States. In line with the increasing Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, NATO has accelerated its plans to create a rapid reaction force composed of “several thousand” soldiers, who in the words of Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would be able to respond to any threat within hours.
Some sources say such force would have at least 4000 troops, but NATO insists that the amount will have to be approved previous to any deployment is issued.
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin commented that if he had wanted to take over Ukraine he could have done it in just two weeks time, a statement which seems to have been responded to by NATO’s intention to have a small army to intervene on any conflict where it deems its Member States are threatened.
The justification Rasmussen offers to create this force and increase the Allied presence in Eastern Europe is the alarm produced by Russian movements. “We do not do this because we want to attack anyone, but the dangers and threats are more visible” he said without mentioning Russia by name. “And we will do whatever it takes to defend our allies,” he said Monday at a news conference.
The rapid response military force is what NATO called a spearhead force for immediate action aimed at “any potential aggressor so that it knows that we are prepared. It is meant to have a deterrent effect,” said the head of NATO, although so far Moscow has not reacted to threats launched from the West.
The unit shall include land, naval, air force and special forces who will be headquartered in one of the 28 allies nations to act if necessary, explain sources of the organization, which announced that his new NATO guerrilla will be ready later this year. Its room for maneuver may be delayed depending on whether a country requires parliamentary authorization to approve a mission, but such a delay should not exceed one week.
The details on the creation and activities of this new force will be finalized on Friday. The organization expects that all states join this commitment, although it remains to be seen to what degree.
The other step forward which will attempt to show NATO’s claws to Russia will be the increase in its presence in the east. To have that quick action plan, NATO needs to expand its troop presence in Eastern Europe, a region where Moscow pledged to not have permanent bases and now feels especially threatened.
“It’s about having real presence on the ground. The security situation is very volatile and we have to adjust to this changing scenario,” Rasmussen explained. Leaving aside strategic and geopolitical matters, Russia and any other non-aligned nation do have causes for concern.
Despite having agreed to be limited in its expansion, NATO has practically surrounded Russia with military bases all over its borders, which logically explains Russia’s sudden change in posture.
On paper, the Allies did not alter the special relationship with Russia since 1997, but in practice, “Russia no longer sees NATO as a partner but as an adversary,” said Rasmussen. He, however, did not explain why is it that Russia has changed the way it sees NATO.
This militarized global police force has violated every single agreement signed with Russia and other non-aligned countries to respect their sovereignty and to limit its military presence.
Russia finally changes its tone
Giving NATO’s growing military build-up, Russia has changed its attitude from a passive, patient one to a position of alert.
The country’s military doctrine is set to change before the end of the year due to the emergence of “new military threats” to the country, manifested, for example, in the Ukrainian crisis, announced Russia’s Undersecretary of the Security Council, Mikhail Popov.
“This is due, first, to the emergence of new threats and military actions against the Russian Federation,” he said. Popov also spoke about the events of the Arab Spring, the armed conflict in Syria, as well as the situation in Ukraine.
Furthermore, according to the high office, it is “increasingly apparent the eagerness of the United States and NATO members to increase their strategic offensive potential through the development of a global missile defense system (…) and new means to carry out armed operations including the use of hypersonic weapons.”
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, rejected on Tuesday the initiative to request Kiev that Ukraine becomes part of NATO and warned that such steps “are clearly detrimental” in the resolution of the current civil and armed conflict.
Popov said that the new Russian military doctrine will include the need to dispense imports for the national defense industry. “Experience shows that reliability of some of our Western partners is a temporary phenomenon and, unfortunately, is linked to the political situation,” he said.
Also today, the Italian Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini elected in Brussels as the new High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, has reported that tomorrow the EU will have ready a new package of sanctions against Moscow for its military intervention in Ukraine. The new package is expected to be approved by Friday.
On the battlefield fighting continues in the east of Ukraine. According to official Ukrainian accounts Kiev’s troops have killed 50 militants and destroyed a Grad missile launcher and two military vehicles. “Ukrainian sources say there is intense activity near the towns of Komsomolskoye, Razdélnoye and Valislevka where members of the militia are joined by Russian troops,” the statement said.
According to the version of the eastern militia, the fighting has claimed the lives of 15 other soldiers in the last 24 hours. Some 2,600 people have died since the beginning of the conflict. About 800 of them were members of the Ukrainian forces.
The UN agency for refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that the Ukrainian conflict has left more than a million refugees. A total of 814,000 would be on Russian soil, according to UNHCR, and 260,000 are displaced on Ukrainian territory. The number of displaced, according to UN monitoring has doubled in the last three weeks.