Category Archives: defence

Russia arms exports at rise

Long-term commissions of Russian armements by other states amount to $55 bln, whereas annual exports of local arms and military equipment stand at $14-15 bln, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said, TASS news agency reports.

“We have guaranteed long-term orders worth $55 bln, while annual sales amount to roughly $14-15 bln,” Borisov said. “President has set a goal to bring the share of civil production in the structure of the defense industry to 30% by 2025 and to 50% by 2030,” he added.

The share of civil production in the structure of the Russian defense industry’s output went up from 20.9% in 2018 to 24.1% in 2019.
The share of civil production amounted to 34.1% in 2019 in aircraft construction, 14.6% in radio-electronic industry, and 19.1% in shipbuilding, the civil servant announced the Industry and Trade Ministry’s statistics.

NATO suspends training in Iraq

NATO Ambassadors met on 6 January 2019 in Brussels headquaters to address current tensions in the Middle East and implications for NATO’s training mission in Iraq.

“…Allies expressed their strong support for the fight against ISIS and for the NATO mission in Iraq. In everything that we do, the safety of our personnel is paramount. As such, we have temporarily suspended our training on the ground,” – Jens Stolenberg said.

Allies called for restraint and de-escalation. A new conflict would be in no one’s interest. So Iran must refrain from further violence and provocation” he added.

Speaking after the meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the safety of NATO’s personnel in Iraq is paramount and that the Alliance had temporarily suspended training activities on the ground. He added that NATO was prepared to continue training and capacity-building when the situation permits, emphasizing that the Alliance remains strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism, namely Daech in Middle East.

NATO moves to space as ‘operational domain’

Although the participants claimed that historic NATO 70 Summit in London was a success, the general public has witness the other version of the events while leaders were trading barbs, ending in refusal of a concluding press-conference.

The assembly was marked  by unusual assertiveness, and even remorse of President Trump who declared at his arrival to London the French President Macron remarks on NATO “brain death” as “nasty” and, while leaving, calling Canada’s prime minister “two-faced” for mocking him on a hot mic.

Nevertheless NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that the allies  have been able to “overcome our disagreements and continue to deliver on our core tasks to protect and defend each other.”

The leaders declared that space is now an “operational domain,” after land, sea, air and cyber space.

In a joint declaration, the leaders said: “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.”

There were some changes in initial positions, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not further insist on his idea of blocking plans to enforce NATO infrastructure in northern and eastern Europe unless allies declared Kurdish fighters in Syria terrorists.

Marking the 70th anniversary of NATO, which was founded in 1949 to confront the security threat posed by the then Soviet Union, the leaders said the trans-Atlantic alliance is the cornerstone of their collective defense.

They also underlined their commitment to Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty, saying “that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.”

The leaders then pledged to boost their military budgets in line with previous promises to move toward spending 2% of their annual GDP on defense by 2024.

They noted that European allies and Canada have increased spending for the last five years in a row and have invested an extra $130 billion since 2016. “We are making good progress. We must and will do more,” they said.

The leaders noted that NATO faces a multitude of threats, including from Russia and terrorism. “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all,” they said.

They also noted that “instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration.”

Arms control was also a theme, given the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty between Washington and Moscow.

We are fully committed to the preservation and strengthening of effective arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation,” the leaders said.

They added: “We remain open for dialogue, and to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible.”

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan, where NATO has its longest and most ambitious security operation. They also underlined that they are increasing cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.

North Macedonia‘s imminent membership was welcomed as a sign that NATO’s door remains open to European countries who want to join.

Turning to modern challenges, the leaders vowed to protect critical infrastructure, including 5th generation telecommunication networks, to ensure energy security and work together to counter cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare.

They said they must also address the “opportunities and challenges” posed by the rise of China.

To counter concerns about poor political decision making, the leaders accepted to set up a “reflection group” led by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation.”

After three consecutive years of summits, the leaders agreed to meet again in 2021.

 

Erdogan blocks NATO Baltic advancement

Turkey announced it will oppose NATO’s plans for enhancing defence of three Baltic countries if the Alliance does not recognize militant groups that Ankara defines as terrorist, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London.

Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a number of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian air defense systems S-400  to policy vis-à-vis Syria. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Ankara has refused to back NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the YPG, which it assesses as a terrorist organization.

NATO: French flag half-mast

The flags of France are at half-mast outside NATO Headquarters to honour the fallen French soldiers in Mali.

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants.

A Tiger attack helicopter crashed into a Cougar military transport mid-air as it manoeuvred to engage the militants, who were fleeing on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks.
The two aircraft collapsed not far from each other, killing everyone on board including six commandos and an officer.

It is the heaviest toll in a single combat operation since 1986 when a French sea surveillance plane crashed into a mountain in northern Djibouti with the loss of 19 soldiers.

Estonia is one of the Allies of France, expressing it profound condolences. It is also
about to commit 160 military personnel to international operations, along with 234 service members to readiness units, next year. This includes a continued contribution to the French-led anti-insurgency Operation Barkhane, in the West African country of Mali, for which 95 personnel will be assigned. The Barkhane contingent will increase from 50 to 95 troops, and special operations forces will be deployed.

Space as NATO “operational domain”

‘Two weeks from now, NATO leaders will meet in London. Together, we will mark our Alliance’s seventieth anniversary. And look to the future” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

‘Tomorrow, Foreign Ministers will finalize our preparations for the London meeting. This leaders’ meeting is timely. Not least because questions are being asked about the strength of the transatlantic relationship. There are indeed differences among Allies on a range of different issues. Such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal. And more recently, the situation in North East Syria. But differences and doubts among Allies are not new. Despite them, NATO has only grown stronger over the last seventy years. And we continue to provide security for almost 1 billion people.     

“In fact, Europe and North America are doing more together in NATO today than we have for decades. We are strengthening our deterrence and defence, with more forces at higher readiness. Stepping up our response against cyber attacks and hybrid threats. And playing a key role in the fight against international terrorism, including with training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Because ultimately, being part of a strong transatlantic Alliance is in the national interest of each and every one of our countries.  Everything we do must be underpinned by fair burden sharing. We are now in the fifth consecutive year of rising defence spending across European Allies and Canada. With more than $100 billion extra invested in defence. This is unprecedented progress. And we are determined to keep up the momentum.

“In a fast-changing world, NATO continues to adapt to face strategic challenges. And tomorrow, we will take another important step. I expect ministers will agree to recognize space as an operational domain, alongside air, land, sea, and cyber. Space is essential to the Alliance’s defence and deterrence. For early warning, communication and navigation.

“Around 2,000 satellites currently orbit the Earth. Around half are owned by NATO countries. So recognising space as an operational domain will be a clear sign that we continue to strengthen our deterrence and defence in all areas. Our approach will remain defensive and fully in line with international law. NATO has no intention to put weapons in space. But we need to ensure our missions and operations have the right support.

We will also address a range of other issues. Including NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism. Our training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to play an important role in preventing the resurgence of ISIS and other terrorist groups.

“Our work to counter hybrid threats will also be on the agenda. Allies are stepping up, including with new baseline requirements for resilient telecommunications, including 5G. And our first counter-hybrid support team is in Montenegro this week.  We will also discuss other strategic issues, including Russia the implications of the rise of China, the future of arms control, and energy security.”

“NATO is the only forum that brings nations from Europe and North America together, to address strategic security challenges NATO remains the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security. And it is the responsibility of each of us to maintain and strengthen our unity. In order to ensure credible deterrence and defence for all of us.” 

NATO Stoltenberg praises Merkel leadership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Germany for its vital contributions to the Alliance in talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 7, 2019.

Speaking at a press conference at the Chancellery, Mr. Stoltenberg praised Germany’s leadership of multinational NATO forces in Lithuania, its hosting of the Alliance’s new mobility command in Ulm and its important contributions to NATO operations from Afghanistan to Kosovo and the Aegean Sea.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for the meeting of NATO leaders in December in London, including the need for higher readiness of NATO forces and fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance.

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