16:39 Jul. 20, 2016
NATO Secretary General reiterates that annexation of Crimea undermined European security
While the European security is being threatened on many fronts, there is another challenge: a challenge from a more assertive Russia, especially following the illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says in his opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal.
"Terrorism, it must also be remembered, is not the only challenge NATO faces. When Russia illegally annexed Crimea, it undermined European security. Moscow continues to support militants in Eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has cost more than 10,000 lives. It regularly provokes NATO allies and partners, such as when Russian jet fighters buzzed U.S. ships in the Baltic Sea," writes Stoltenberg.
In response to a more assertive Russia, NATO has implemented the biggest increase in its collective defense since the Cold War.
Last week, allied leaders went further and agreed to deploy rotating NATO forces in the eastern countries of the alliance. The U.S., Germany, Canada and the U.K. will each lead multinational battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. NATO will also increase its presence in southeast Europe, with a multinational brigade in Romania.
Stoltenberg goes on to say that "if any ally is attacked, it will be seen as an attack against the whole. Aggression will be met by troops from the entire alliance."
NATO chief sums up that the Cold War should remain in history and the alliance wants "meaningful and constructive dialogue with Russia," what was demonstrated at the last week's meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
However, "whether the challenges come from terrorism, from Russia, or from elsewhere, NATO and its allies are ready to stand up, to stand united, and to protect our almost one billion citizens."