Category Archives: Defense

NATO: New Strategic Concept

Brussels 27.06.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday (27 June 2022) said NATO leaders meeting in Madrid this week are set to sign off on key decisions, including a new Strategic Concept, a major strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence and greater support to Ukraine.

Speaking in Brussels ahead of the Summit which begins on Tuesday, the Secretary General said NATO leaders will also focus on investing in defence, aim to make progress on Finland and Sweden’s historic applications for NATO membership and deepen cooperation with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

“At the Summit, we will strengthen our forward defences. We will enhance our battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance up to brigade-levels. We will transform the NATO Response Force. And increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000. We will also boost our ability to reinforce in crisis and conflict” Stoltenberg said.

“Nine Allies now reach or exceed the 2% target. Nineteen Allies have clear plans to reach it by 2024.
And an additional five have concrete commitments to meet it thereafter. Two percent is increasingly considered a floor, not a ceiling. We will also agree to invest more together in NATO for the benefit of our security” the Secretary General continued.

Stoltenberg welcomed President Zelenskyy joining the NATO Summit in Madrid.
“NATO and Allies have provided substantial support to Ukraine since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, including with military and financial aid, and training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces.
All of this is making a difference on the battlefield every day. And since the invasion in February, Allies have stepped up even more. With billions of euros’ worth of military, financial, and humanitarian assistance.At the Summit, we will agree a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine.
This will include substantial deliveries of support. In areas like secure communications, anti-drone systems, and fuel” Stoltenberg underscored.

Borrell welcomes Denmark EU defence prospect

Brussels 01.06.2022 “I welcome the outcome of the referendum held in Denmark yesterday. The Danish people have spoken. They have decided to abolish the 30-year-old opt-out clause related to EU defence. This is a historic decision that will allow Denmark to participate fully in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)” reads the Statement by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell on the outcome of the referendum on the opt-out in defence matters in Denmark. (Image: illustration)

“At a time when it is more imperative than ever for the EU and its Member States to reinforce their defence capabilities and capacity to act, this decision will bring additional strength and unity to our CSDP and defence initiatives.

“As soon as the Danish government will have formally informed the other EU Member States of its decision, in line with its constitutional provisions, we stand ready to swiftly take all the necessary steps to ensure that Denmark can fully participate in all aspects of CSDP”.

Biden vows to defend Taiwan

Brussels 23.05.2022 President Biden indicated at a news conference in Japan that he would use military force to defend Taiwan in case it ever attacked by China, dispensing with the “strategic ambiguity” traditionally favored by American presidents, and drawing a firmer line at a time of rising tensions in the region.

Responding to a reporter who asked whether the U.S. would be “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that,” Biden said “Yes”. “That’s the commitment we made,” he added. The declaration set the stage for fresh tensions between the U.S. and China, which insists that Taiwan is part of its territory.

Though Biden appeared to be suggesting that he would be willing to go much further on behalf of Taiwan than he has in supporting Ukraine, the White House swiftly asserted that its policy had not changed, and that the U.S. would provide Taiwan with the “military means to defend itself” if necessary.

EU: Sweden moves towards NATO

Brussels 16.05.2022 “Let me stress my strong support to Sweden and Finland. Some minutes ago, I had a conversation with the Swedish Minister [for Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde], who was kind enough to call me, to inform that the process has started, that they are going to inform the King, and that there is strong support for this decision inside the Swedish society and the Swedish political spectrum” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said at the doorstep of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Brussels.

“So, I think the European Union Member States will support this decision, and I hope we could override the opposition of some members of NATO,” he added.

Finland joins NATO without delay

Brussels 12.04.2022 Finland announced it would apply to join NATO “without delay”, with Sweden expected to follow suit, suggesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will bring about the very expansion of the Western military alliance that Vladimir Putin attempted to prevent.

The decision by the two Nordic countries to abandon the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be a giant shift in European security structure in decades. Finland’s announcement provoked indignation from the Kremlin, which called it a direct threat to Russia and promised an unspecified relevant response.

The announcement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin means that Finland is all but certain to join the Western military alliance, though a few steps remain before the application process can begin. Neighbouring Sweden is expected to decide on application for NATO membership in coming days.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they said. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Finland considers joining NATO in weeks

Brussels 13.04.2022 Finland will take a decision about whether to apply to join NATO in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured) said on Wednesday, April 13, underlining a shift in security perspectives since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have to be prepared for all kinds of actions from Russia,” Marin told journalists during a news conference in Stockholm with her Swedish counterpart.

The head of government said the option to join NATO had to be carefully analysed but that everything had changed when Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.

“The difference between being a partner and being a member is very clear and will remain so. There is no other way to have security guarantees than under NATO’s deterrence and common defence as guaranteed by NATO’s Article 5,” Marin added.

Finland and fellow Nordic state and neighbour Sweden are close partners with NATO but have shied away from joining the 30-member alliance, founded in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

52 percent of Finnish Swedes say yes to NATO membership, shows a recent survey Swedish Yle and the think tank Magma commissioned. This is a smaller proportion than in Finland as a whole.

Today, Wednesday, the Government is expected to approve and present the defense policy report. It will be discussed in the Riksdag next week.

At the same time, a new survey shows that Swedes in Finland express greater uncertainty regarding NATO membership than the general population does. Survey has been commissioned by Svenska Yle together with the think tank Magma.

The survey shows that Finnish Swedes’ NATO support is lower in Finland overall. 52 percent of Finnish Swedes say yes to NATO membership, compared with over 60 percent in Yle’s latest NATO survey for the entire
population.

“I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast – within weeks not within months,” said Marin, whose country shares a 1,300-km (810-mile)-long border with Russia to the east.

She said it was important to reach consensus in Finland, which fought Soviet invaders during World War Two and has been militarily non-aligned since then, and that political parties would have internal talks and in parliament in coming weeks.

Finland and Sweden way to NATO

Brussels 11.04.2022 Sweden and Finland may join NATO as early as this summer, the Times newspaper reported citing its sources. (Image: Sandra Marin Prime minister of Finland).

According to the news outlet, it is expected that Finland will apply for its membership in June and Sweden will follow.

The governments of Sweden and Finland are co-operating on reaching consensus on the matter domestically, however, the final decision will be made by each country independently.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the possible NATO membership of Sweden and Finland became one of the most debated subjects during the April 6-7 meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

NATO pledge for heavy weapons to Ukraine

Brussels 07.04.2022 The NATO member states have agreed to supply new types of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, alliance representatives have said, as Kyiv prepares for a next offensive by Russia in the Donbass region.

The pledge has been announced after a plea from Ukraine Foreign minister to move faster with weapons supplies. Six weeks since Russia invasion of Ukraine, some of the troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital, but are regrouping and rearming ahead of an attempt to advance in the Eastern region near Donbass.

These events influenced demands from Kyiv for western countries to supply more heavy weapons, armour and more advanced systems. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would use the Alliance meeting in Brussels to ask for aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy air defence systems, additionally to the other types of equipment.

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said to press that member states had agreed to send more weapons.

“There was support for countries to supply new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia,” the top diplomat explained. “And we agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis.”

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said Washington was looking at sending “new systems” to Ukraine.

“We are not going to let anything stand in the way of getting Ukrainians what they need,” he said. “We are looking across the board right now, not only at what we have provided . . . [but] whether there are additional systems that would make a difference.”

Previously the allies have supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, drones and other defensive weaponry before and during the war. However, they have declined to supply other classes of weapons or impose a no-fly zone, as Kyiv has demanded, over the risk of engaging Russia in a wider war.

Ukrainian defence forces with NLAW anti-tank weapons in Kyiv last month: Nato countries have promised to send more advanced systems as a fresh assault by Russia looms
Kuleba said afterwards he was “cautiously optimistic” that alliance states would meet his demand but warned that delays would result in more deaths.

“Either you help us now, and I am speaking about days . . . or your help will come too late,” Kuleba said. The Ukranian diplomat added also added that without these weapons many people might die.

He added: “I was very specific about the requests and the timeline that they should be accommodated. I will be looking forward to the follow-up from allies.”

Ukraine has warned Russia is preparing a fresh offensive in the Donbas, aimed at seizing territory in the two administrative regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which separatists have partially occupied since a Moscow-backed uprising in 2014.

Ukraine’s military authorities on Wednesday called on residents living in the regions to leave “while they still had the chance”.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said allies had agreed to “further strengthen” support for Ukraine immediately and in the “medium and long term”.

The promise of further military aid came amid regrets of Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, admitting Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops” during the invasion of Ukraine, which he described as “a huge tragedy” for his compatriots.

Peskov said Russia had withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv in central Ukraine last week as a “goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations”, however fighting would continue in the Donbas, he added.

“It was a clear message from the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to supply more equipment. They realise and recognise the urgency,” he said.

NATO-Russia: Biden announces new sanctions

Brussels 24.03.2022 President Biden has given a press-conference after NATO and G7 Summits in Brussels touting unity in the Western response to Russia as allies worked behind the scenes to formulate their plans for the next phase of the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden said he supported ejecting Russia from G20, which is scheduled to convene in November, though other members of that grouping would have to sign on, admitting that at the moment there are some state opposing this perspective.

Biden maintained his view that direct U.S. military intervention in Ukraine would result in catastrophe and defended a sanctions regime which, according to him should bring results, if used on a wholesome and permanent basis as long as needed.
“Putin was banking on NATO being split,” Biden said in a news conference at NATO headquarters late afternoon.
“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.”

During the critical day of meetings, Biden announced new measures directed at members of Russia’s Parliament – Duma – and unveiled a plan to accept as many as 100,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine, steps intended to show American resolve in confronting the crisis.

A discussion of NATO’s force posture along its eastern border was also part of the last-minute diplomatic effort. And leaders conferred on what to do if Russia deploys a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon,the answer should be united, and decided on a consensus basis.

“The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Biden said, answering a question.

As the Summit got underway Thursday morning, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering online. He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone, however he insisted Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and air-defence systems.

EU adopts Strategic Compass

Brussels 21.03.2022 Today the Council has formally approved the Strategic Compass, at a time when we witness the return of war in Europe.

The Compass gives the European Union an ambitious plan of action for strengthening the EU’s security and defence policy by 2030.

The more hostile security environment requires us to make a quantum leap forward and increase our capacity and willingness to act, strengthen our resilience, and invest more and better in our defence capabilities.

The strength of our Union lies in unity, solidarity and determination. The objective of the Strategic Compass is to make the EU a stronger and more capable security provider. The EU needs to be able to protect its citizens and to contribute to international peace and security. This is all the more important at a time when war has returned to Europe, following the unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as of major geopolitical shifts. This Strategic Compass will enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy and its ability to work with partners to safeguard its values and interests.

A stronger and more capable EU in security and defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members. It will also intensify support for the global rules-based order, with the United Nations at its core.

The threats are rising and the cost of inaction is clear. The Strategic Compass is a guide for action. It sets out an ambitious way forward for our security and defence policy for the next decade. It will help us face our security responsibilities, in front of our citizens and the rest of the world. If not now, then when?
“The Strategic Compass provides a shared assessment of the strategic environment in which the EU is operating and of the threats and challenges the Union faces. The document makes concrete and actionable proposals, with a very precise timetable for implementation, in order to improve the EU’s ability to act decisively in crises and to defend its security and its citizens” said Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Compass covers all the aspects of the security and defence policy and is structured around four pillars: act, invest, partner and secure.

Act
In order to be able to act rapidly and robustly whenever a crisis erupts, with partners if possible and alone when necessary, the EU will:

– establish a strong EU Rapid Deployment Capacity of up to 5000 troops for different types of crises

– be ready to deploy 200 fully equipped CSDP mission experts within 30 days, including in complex environments

– conduct regular live exercises on land and at sea

– enhance military mobility

– reinforce the EU’s civilian and military CSDP (Common Defence and Security Policy) missions and operations by promoting a rapid and more flexible decision-making process , acting in a more robust way and ensuring greater financial solidarity

– make full use of the European Peace Facility to support partners

In order to be able to act rapidly and robustly whenever a crisis erupts, with partners if possible and alone when necessary, the EU will:

– establish a strong EU Rapid Deployment Capacity of up to 5000 troops for different types of crises

– be ready to deploy 200 fully equipped CSDP mission experts within 30 days, including in complex environments

– conduct regular live exercises on land and at sea

– enhance military mobility

– reinforce the EU’s civilian and military CSDP (Common Defence and Security Policy) missions and operations by promoting a rapid and more flexible decision-making process , acting in a more robust way and ensuring greater financial solidarity

– make full use of the European Peace Facility to support partners

Secure
In order to strengthen its ability to anticipate, deter and respond to current and fast-emerging threats and challenges, and safeguard the EU’s security interest, the EU will:

– boost its intelligence analysis capacities

– develop Hybrid Toolbox and Response Teams bringing together different instruments to detect and respond to a broad range of hybrid threats

– further develop the Cyber Diplomatic Toolbox and set up an EU Cyber Defence Policy to be better prepared for and respond to cyberattacks

– develop a Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference Toolbox

– develop an EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence

– strengthen the EU’s role as a maritime security actor

Invest
Member states have committed to substantially enhance their defence expenditures to match our collective ambition to reduce critical military and civilian capability gaps and strengthen our European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The EU will:

– exchange on national objectives on increased and improved defence spending to match our security needs

– provide further incentives for member states to engage in collaborative capability development and jointly invest in strategic enablers and next generation capabilities to operate on land, at sea, in the air, in the cyber domain and in outer space

– boost defence technological innovation to fill strategic gaps and reduce technological and industrial dependencies

Partner
In order to address common threats and challenges, the EU will:

– strengthen cooperation with strategic partners such as NATO, the UN and regional partners, including the OSCE, AU and ASEAN

– develop more tailored bilateral partnerships with like-minded countries and strategic partners, such as the US, Canada, Norway, the UK, Japan and others

– develop tailored partnerships in the Western Balkans, our eastern and southern neighbourhood, Africa, Asia and Latin America, including through enhancing dialogue and cooperation, promoting participation in CSDP missions and operations and supporting capacity- building

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