Nato chief sounds alarm over Russian build-up

2015-11-05 21:31
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will become chief of the Nato alliance when current Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen steps down in the autumn of 2014. (Mindaugas Kulbis, AP,File)

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will become chief of the Nato alliance when current Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen steps down in the autumn of 2014. (Mindaugas Kulbis, AP,File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Troia - Nato's secretary-general sounded the alarm Thursday over the build-up of Russian military forces from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and called on the US-led alliance to come up with a response.

Jens Stoltenberg said the Russians have concentrated military forces in Kaliningrad, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, where they are assisting beleaguered Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Speaking at a news conference during Nato war games, Stoltenberg experts believe the build-up of Russian military might could lead to Moscow's ability to limit the access of the United States and its allies to certain regions.

"We have to be sure that we are able to overcome these capabilities, so we can reinforce, so we can move and we can deploy forces if needed," Stoltenberg said.

The Nato chief said the challenge of Russia's new capabilities in the field of what defence specialists call "anti-access/area denial" has become "the question on our agenda."

On Wednesday, leaders and representatives of nine Eastern European Nato member nations meeting in the Romanian capital of Bucharest called for an increased alliance presence in Europe in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and threats from the Islamic State group.

Until now, Nato has been cool to such requests, citing an agreement it concluded with Russian in 1997, when relations with Moscow were friendlier. Under the accord, Nato said it would refrain from any "additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces."

Though the alliance opened small liaison offices in capitals of its Eastern European members this year and has rotated military units in and out of countries that feel most at risk from Russia, it appears to have carefully avoided anything that might be construed by the Kremlin as the stationing of permanent reinforcements.

Stormed a beach

Stoltenberg's comments on Thursday hinted that Nato and its member nations might be rethinking their approach. "The important thing is that we have military presence," the secretary-general said.

"To some extent," he said, "it is artificial to distinguish between occasional military presence and other kinds that are more persistent."

Earlier in the day, Nato put its naval and special forces capabilities on display at this naval base south of Lisbon, and also showcased the ability of armed forces from its 28 member nations to work together.

As Stoltenberg and other VIP guests looked on, British and Spanish marines riding landing craft stormed a beach. Portuguese marines fast-roped from a helicopter onto the bow of a ship, simulating the retaking of a vessel seized by terrorists or pirates. The Portuguese were reinforced by units from Polish special forces, who also checked for the presence of chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.

For the past three weeks, more than 36 000 personnel from Nato allies and partner nations have been taking part in exercises across a broad swath of Europe stretching from Portugal to Italy.

The war games, code-named Trident Juncture, are being held to hone Nato's ability to respond to a range of new security threats, including a more assertive Russia and Muslim terrorist groups active in the Middle East and North Africa.

Read more on:    nato  |  jens stoltenberg  |  russia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.