At the meeting of the heads of the North Atlantic Alliance, all the fears of the Russian ruler came true, except for one – Ukraine’s entry into NATO.
Participants in the NATO summit in Madrid, which ended on June 30, adopted a new strategic concept for the security of the alliance, in which they called Russia the main threat. At the same time, the United States officially announced the expansion of the American military contingent in Europe in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s full-scale war against Ukraine has also brought once-neutral Finland and Sweden into NATO. Ukraine itself was promised more military assistance, including the transition of the army and production to new types of weapons. Perild.com tells the details.
New NATO Strategic Concept
Every ten years, NATO adopts a strategic concept, its second most important document after the North Atlantic Treaty. In it, the alliance assesses the state of security in the world and outlines how to act in such a situation. Plans for the current decade were approved at the NATO summit in Madrid on 29 June.
Differences from the previous cardinal. In 2010, NATO could confidently assert that the Euro-Atlantic region lives in peace, and “the threat of a conventional attack on NATO territory is low.” The new concept states the absence of peace and states that the possibility of an attack on NATO states should not be underestimated.
“The aggressive war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has destroyed the world and seriously changed our security environment. Its brutal and illegal invasion, repeated violations of international humanitarian law and horrific attacks and atrocities have brought untold suffering and destruction,” the new concept notes.
If the previous concept spoke of striving for a “true strategic partnership” with Russia, now it is “the most significant and direct threat to the security of NATO member states, as well as to the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region.”
The alliance promised to strengthen defense and deterrence. And they added that any change in relations with Russia depends on Moscow itself.
If the recognition of Russia as the main threat was expected, then the main unknown before the publication of the new end of the armament on the option was how China would be represented in it. In the Lisbon document, the PRC was not mentioned at all. Now Beijing has received much attention.
“The PRC’s stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security, and values. The PRC employs a wide range of political, economic, and military tools to increase its global influence and flaunt power while avoiding clarity about its strategy, intentions, and troop buildup,” – the document says.
The concept expressed regret about the strengthening of the strategic partnership between China and Russia.
Ukraine is also given attention in the document. “A strong and independent Ukraine is vital to the stability of the Euro-Atlantic region,” the preamble emphasizes. And at the end of the text it is indicated that NATO will continue to develop partnerships with Ukraine, Georgia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
US increases military presence in Europe
US President Joe Biden said that the US plans to increase its military presence in Europe. The increase in military contingent is necessary to strengthen the security of the region and to protect “every inch of the territory,” he said.
Additional forces will be deployed to the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states. “Putin hoped for the Finnishization of Europe, but he will get Natoization,” the US president said.
Before the Madrid summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance intends to significantly increase the number of its rapid reaction forces: up to 300,000 troops (now they include about 40,000 people). This, although without specific figures, is also stated in the adopted declaration.
“Together with allies, we will ensure that NATO is ready to respond to threats of any kind from any direction. Putin has attacked the most basic rules of the world order. We, the United States, and our allies, will stand up for them. This is exactly what he did not want. But this is what needs to be done to ensure security in Europe,” Biden said.
The United States intends to increase its presence in Europe in this way:
- two additional aircraft carriers will be deployed at the base in the Spanish city of Rota
- permanent headquarters of the US Army’s Fifth Corps to be established in Poland
- an additional brigade of 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 additional personnel will be deployed on a rotational basis in Romania
- additional forces will be deployed in the Baltic countries on a rotational basis
- Britain will deploy two additional squadrons of F-35 aircraft equipped with stealth technology (it protects them from enemy radars)
- in fiscal year 2022, the Pentagon will receive $3.8 billion from the budget to protect Europe. Department of Defense applies for $4.3 billion in funding next year
NATO expands towards Russia
Sweden and Finland, as expected, resolved the dispute with Turkey and received an official invitation to NATO at the Madrid summit. Now the common border between Russia and NATO countries will double at once.
Before the start of a full-scale war against Ukraine, Russian ruler Vladimir Putin demanded that NATO not expand. He put forward conditions on security guarantees, demanding that Ukraine not be allowed to join, as well as a ban on the deployment of additional forces and weapons in Eastern Europe.
The secretary general said that the rapid consideration of applications from these countries should be a signal to Russia. “This is a very obvious signal to Moscow that NATO’s doors are open,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference. He noted that countries without outside pressure should decide for themselves whether they want to join the alliance.
In exchange for a NATO pass, Finland and Sweden agreed to “prevent the activities” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and other structures that Turkey considers terrorist, and the US, according to media reports, promised to supply Ankara with F-16 fighter jets.
And expands assistance to Ukraine
The leaders of 30 NATO states at their summit agreed on a new comprehensive package of assistance to Ukraine.
“We will continue and further strengthen the political and practical support of our close partner Ukraine, which continues to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity from Russian aggression,” the declaration of the NATO Madrid summit says.
The document notes that this will accelerate the supply of non-lethal defense equipment, strengthen cyber security and “Ukraine’s resilience”, and also support the modernization of the Ukrainian defense sector.
The new comprehensive aid package in NATO is also seen as a “clear and obvious” signal that partnership with Ukraine is important for the alliance and will be long-term.
Kyiv is satisfied with the new package of promised assistance. Igor Zhovkva, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, arrived in Madrid for the summit.
“Today, NATO is doing what it can on the issue of such deliveries. I can confirm to you: yes, this is in line with our expectations. Of course, as in the issue of arms deliveries, we would like more and faster. But we are working on it,” – he said.
It is expected that the countries of the alliance will allocate several hundred million euros for the new aid package. The exact figure is not yet known, because some of the projects are just being prepared.
In addition to this non-lethal assistance, the new package includes another, long-term part: in the long term, NATO will help Ukraine complete the transition to new weapons.
To this end, the alliance, together with the Ukrainian authorities, will develop a roadmap to achieve interoperability between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the armies of NATO countries.
In parallel with the transition to weapons of NATO standards, there will be another project that concerns the Ukrainian military-industrial complex.
Both projects – a roadmap for interoperability and for the transformation of weapons production – should be developed before the end of the year.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that insufficient NATO assistance to Ukraine now could turn the alliance into a war with Russia in the future. He stated this while speaking at the summit via video link.
Zelensky also criticized the implementation of NATO’s “open door” policy and called for getting rid of the gray zone between the alliance and Russia. “Is our contribution to the defense of Europe and the entire civilization still insufficient?” the President of Ukraine asked.