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Military Tension up in Eastern Europe…

  • February 5th, 2015
  • Posted by EU Australia

NATO symbolDefence Ministers of the NATO alliance have met to authorise formation of a bigger ready response force, to face off against Russia, as the conflict in Ukraine gets worse.

The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said the force strength would be built up from
13000 to 30000, with a strengthening also of the front-line “spearhead” force, that was supposed to be at 5000.

“This is a very critical time for security in Europe, and across the world”, he said.

“In Ukraine, violence is getting worse and the crisis is deepening. Russia continues to disregard international rules and to support the separatists with advanced weapons, training and forces.”

Western military planners have been under wide criticism over a slow start to the readiness program mandated by the summit of NATO heads of government in Wales last September. Leaders of former Eastern Bloc states, especially Poland and the three Baltic republics that were in the Soviet Union – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania —  had been alarmed by Russia’s intervention in the Eastern Ukraine.

Also in September, a ceasefire agreement was made at Minsk between the governments of Ukraine and Russia, and the Russian-backed separatist groups set up as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.

As this year dawned that uneasy agreement steadily deteriorated, with some 200 people believed killed in the recent fighting; see EUAustralia Online, “What comes next in 2015: What happens to Ukraine?”

Mr Stoltenberg, at the meeting in Brussels, has called on the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to keep to the terms of the Minsk agreement and influence his client forces in Ukraine to do the same.

Ukraine and the Western allies have accused Russia of provisioning and reinforcing the insurrectionist campaign.

Today the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has gone to Kiev, where he is setting up expanded shipments of non-lethal military aid, such as night-vision goggles, body armour and radio equipment – from US$53 to US$70-million, (A$67.8-90, xe.com, 5.2.15).

The French President, Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced they would add another approach, with an immediate trip to see the Russian President in Moscow.

Reference

Adrian Croft, “NATO meets to approve strengthening forces in eastern Europe”, The Guardian, Manchester, 5.2.15.

The Guardian, Manchester, “Joe Biden dispatched to Europe to shore up Nato resolve over Ukraine crisis”, 5.2.15.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Media Release: Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers (5.2.15); NATO Secretary General to attend the Munich Security Conference, (5.2.15).

Reuters, London, Ukraine Crisis, 5.2.15). http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/05/uk-ukraine-crisis-nato-idUKKBN0L82KG20150205, (5.2.

 

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