Defense: NATO prepares for dark times

Defense: NATO prepares for dark times
Defense: NATO prepares for dark times

After the attack on Ukraine, Russia is seeking to join forces with China. NATO and especially the USA as its leader are preparing for confrontation with this new bloc.

In the 75th year of its existence, NATO is preparing for dark times. A new Cold War with Russia, an escalation of tensions with China? At their anniversary summit in Washington, the 32 allies are now taking precautions. With new political and military commitments, the alliance is demonstrating solidarity with Ukraine. In view of Russia’s aggression against its neighbor, NATO is strengthening its deterrence in Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with heads of state and government today on the third and final day of the summit – as will representatives from Indo-Pacific states who, like NATO, are concerned about China’s course.

The basis for the talks is what was already decided on Wednesday. An overview:

Ukraine Command in Wiesbaden

In future, NATO will coordinate arms deliveries and training activities for the Ukrainian armed forces from Wiesbaden. The heads of state and government of the member states decided to launch the mission at the summit. It is set to begin on Friday and will then gradually take over tasks previously performed by the USA.

A total of around 700 employees are to be deployed for the new NATO command, of which Germany intends to provide up to 40 employees, including a two-star general as deputy commander.

The NATO project is also seen as a precaution in the event of a possible return of Donald Trump to the US presidency in January 2025. Statements by the Republican in the past had raised doubts as to whether the USA would continue to support Ukraine under his leadership in the defensive war against Russia as it has done so far. The alliance fears that a political change of course in Washington could also affect the coordination of arms deliveries and training activities for the Ukrainian armed forces.

A special envoy and lots of money for weapons

In the summit declaration, Ukraine is assured that it will receive military aid worth at least 40 billion euros again within the next year. This is roughly the amount that was mobilized last year. The promise does not correspond to the multi-year commitment that the outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had originally called for. But for Ukraine, it is better than nothing. The Ukraine package also includes the decision to send a high-ranking NATO representative to Ukraine.

Path to NATO now “irreversible”

There is a compromise on the controversial issue of NATO accession prospects. The alliance also assures Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia, that it can no longer be stopped on its way to joining the defense alliance. The final declaration describes the path to membership as irreversible. At the same time, it is emphasized again that a formal invitation to join can only be issued when all allies agree and all admission conditions are met. These include reforms in the areas of democracy and the economy as well as the security sector.

Defense against cyber threats from China and Russia

In order to better protect NATO against hacker attacks or disinformation campaigns, a new Center for Integrated Cyber ​​Defense is being set up. Among other things, it will help improve network protection and situational awareness.

NATO toughens tone towards China

In the summit declaration, NATO accuses China of providing crucial support for Russia’s war against Ukraine. Examples cited include China’s extensive support for the Russian defense industry and the so-called borderless partnership between the two countries.

At the same time, the government in Beijing is warned of the consequences. China cannot enable the largest war in recent history in Europe without this having a negative impact on its interests and reputation, the statement says. The ever closer strategic partnership between Russia and China and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undermine and reshape the rules-based international order are cause for great concern.

And otherwise?

The USA also announced on Wednesday that it would station weapons systems in Germany for the first time since the Cold War that would reach as far as Russia. From 2026, Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of well over 2,000 kilometers, SM-6 anti-aircraft missiles and newly developed supersonic weapons will provide better protection for NATO allies in Europe.

In addition, the F-16 fighter jets promised by foreign partners are to be deployed in Ukraine this summer to defend against the Russian war of aggression. The transfer of the jets is already underway, the USA, the Netherlands and Denmark announced.

NATO summit website

Source: Stern

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