Tag Archives: Defense

EU focus on Strategic Compass

Brussels 21.03.2022 “Today is going to be a very long day. We are going to have a joint meeting with the Defence Ministers in order to approve – I hope – the Strategic Compass. Which is not the answer to the Ukrainian war, but it is part of the answer. We have been working on that for two years, and when we started working, we could not imagine that it the last moment of approval, the situation would be so bad, and that Europe was going to face such a big challenge,” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said upon arrival to the Foreign ministers Council in Brussels.

“This is the moment to rethink the future of European capacities to face challenges like a war. That is why the European Union Member States will have to increase their military capacities. [And to] do it in a coordinated manner. As responsible for the Common Security and Defence Policy, we will be working to make us stronger militarily and use our capacities in a more coordinated way.

“We are going to continue providing support to Ukraine – with the second tranche of the European Peace Facility providing more financial support. We are going to have a meeting with the [Deputy Prime Minister] and Foreign Affairs Minister of the [Republic of] Moldova [Nicu Popescu]. Moldova is providing incredible support to the Ukrainian refugees. And then we will have a video-conference with the Defence Minister of Ukraine [Oleksii Reznikov], who will talk about the war situation.

“Russia is really committing a lot of war crimes – that is the word, we have to say it. What is happening in Mariupol is a massive war crime. [They are] destroying everything, bombarding and killing everybody in an indiscriminate manner. This is something awful that we have to condemn in the strongest terms. This is a war crime, a massive war crime, what is happening in Mariupol. The city will be completely destroyed, and people are dying. We will continue working and supporting Ukraine, with all of our resources. We will continue talking about what kind of sanctions we can think of again, more – especially related with energy. And we will see from [our discussions with] the Defence Minister of Ukraine, what is the situation there and how we can continue supporting them.

The enhancement of the EU defence plans is due to the France Presidency of the Council of the European Union. President Emmanuel Macron has ensured that his goal is to “to move from being a Europe of cooperation inside of our borders to a powerful Europe in the world, fully sovereign, free to make its choices and master of its destiny.” The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell clarified that it is means the EU should be “learning the language of power,” and being willing to act more rigorously to defend its interests wherever they are threatened.

The France Presidency has an ambition to upgrade the European defence to become fully operational. That is why the Strategic Compass has been promoted as the first White paper on the EU defence, becoming the major achievement of the French presidency. The document will lay out a common strategic vision for EU security and defence, and set the practical objectives in accordance with the timetable, or a roadmap.

There will be strong incentives to follow up on the commitments included, the EU diplomats ensure, as the document will be endorsed by the heads of state and government and will leave room for potential adaptations. The Strategic Compass will be a barometer for both member states’ and the bloc’s ambitions to make the EU a leading security provider for its citizens on the continent and beyond.

Russia: U.S. submarine Kuril incident

Brussels 12.02.2022 Anna van Densky Russia’s Defense Ministry has summoned the U.S. military attaché over the incident with Virginia-class American nuclear-powered submarine detected on Saturday, February 12, morning near the Pacific Fleet’s drills near Iturup Island of the Kurils. (Image above: illustratoin).

“The defense attaché issues at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been summoned to the Russian Ministry of Defense in connection with the violation of the Russian state border by the U.S. Navy’s submarine,” the statement reads.

According to the Ministry officials, the Virginia-class submarine belonging to the U.S. Navy was detected on February 12, 2022 at 10.40 (Moscow Time) in the waters, surrounding Iturup Island.

In accordance with the laws on protection of the Russian state border in the underwater environment, the crew of the Pacific Fleet’s frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov used “appropriate means”.

The U.S. submarine started a self-propelled simulator to split the target image on radar and acoustic control means into two parts and retreated from Russian territorial waters at a maximum speed, the Russian Ministry explained.

The Pacific Fleet’s vessels continue scheduled drills, including the operations to ensure control in the underwater environment.

Iturup is the largest island in the Southern Kurils, ownership of which is a matter of a long time dispute between Russia, and Japan.

The island was Japanese territory since 1855 until the end of the Second World War in 1945, when Soviet military took over of all the Kurils and forced out Japanese residents. The island is still claimed by Japan. During the recent press conference, Japanese chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno informed that “Russia has issued a warning that it will carry out firing practice from February 8 in the area to the southeast of Kunashir Island.”

This statement was corroborated by Russian state news agency TASS. Mr. Matsuno added that “we view the increase of Russia’s military presence on the four Northern Territories as unacceptable.” Matsuno also called the drills a “navigational hazard” for the area.

#SOTEU: EU towards European Defence Union

Strasbourg 15.09.2021 “..Witnessing events unfold in Afghanistan was profoundly painful for all the families of fallen servicemen and servicewomen” said the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen while delivering the State of the Union speech #SOTEU at Strasbourg plenary of the European Parliament.

“We bow to the sacrifice of those soldiers, diplomats and aid workers who laid down their lives.
To make sure that their service will never be in vain, we have to reflect on how this mission could end so abruptly.

“There are deeply troubling questions that allies will have to tackle within NATO.
But there is simply no security and defence issue where less cooperation is the answer. We need to invest in our joint partnership and to draw on each side’s unique strength.
This is why we are working with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration to be presented before the end of the year. But this is only one part of the equation.

“Europe can – and clearly should – be able and willing to do more on its own. But if we are to do more, we first need to explain why. I see three broad categories.

“First, we need to provide stability in our neighbourhood and across different regions.
We are connected to the world by narrow straits, stormy seas and vast land borders. Because of that geography, Europe knows better than anyone that if you don’t deal in time with the crisis abroad, the crisis comes to you.

“Secondly, the nature of the threats we face is evolving rapidly: from hybrid or cyber-attacks to the growing arms race in space.Disruptive technology has been a great equaliser in the way power can be used today by rogue states or non-state groups.You no longer need armies and missiles to cause mass damage. You can paralyse industrial plants, city administrations and hospitals – all you need is your laptop. You can disrupt entire elections with a smartphone and an internet connection.

“The third reason is that the European Union is a unique security provider. There will be missions where NATO or the UN will not be present, but where the EU should be.

“On the ground, our soldiers work side-by-side with police officers, lawyers and doctors, with humanitarian workers and human rights defenders, with teachers and engineers.
We can combine military and civilian, along with diplomacy and development – and we have a long history in building and protecting peace.

“The good news is that over the past years, we have started to develop a European defence ecosystem.
But what we need is the European Defence Union.

“In the last weeks, there have been many discussions on expeditionary forces. On what type and how many we need: battlegroups or EU entry forces. This is no doubt part of the debate – and I believe it will be part of the solution. But the more fundamental issue is why this has not worked in the past.

“You can have the most advanced forces in the world – but if you are never prepared to use them – of what use are they? “What has held us back until now is not just a shortfall of capacity – it is the lack of political will. And if we develop this political will, there is a lot that we can do at EU level..”

NATO: Mattis shifts accents

NATO HQ: Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis at his press conference read carefully worded statement, with accents on the unity of the Alliance. He also softened the message on budget, expressing belive that there will be no need to ‘moderate’ on the US position, because all the allies understand the importance of  defence. Mattis also hardened the language towards Kremlin, reminding of “Russian aggression” in Ukraine. However the velvet glove did not cast doubts on his intention to implement the initial message both in reforming NATO, ending the system for a number of the European allies to benefit from the the US as security consumers, neither his intention to find new ways to co-operate with Russia on defeating terrorism.

Gen.Mattis: NATO stays a bedrock of security

sam_6184

NATO HQ, Brussels: US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reconfirmed the  US engagement in NATO, as a “bedrock” of the Transatlantic security, however the issue of budget stays as a priority. The current practise of a number of the NATO members to act as security-consumers does not correspond to the vision of the fair burden-sharing of the new US administration.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Allies will take decisions to ensure NATO stays strong and flexible in the face of evolving challenges, adding that a strong NATO is good for Europe and North America.

sam_6183

 

NATO in stalemate

nato-meeting

NATO Defence Ministers began two days of talks in Brussels on Wednesday,15 February 2017, focusing on ensuring NATO’s strength and flexibility in the face of evolving challenges. Ministers will review progress in deploying NATO’s deterrent forces in the eastern part of the Alliance and assess what NATO can do in the fight against terrorism, says the official announcement of the Alliance.

In his debut trip to Europe as Pentagon chief, Mattis is set to continuity of previous U.S. calls for European allies to invest more on defense, the message the U.S. defense secretaries under Republican and Democratic administrations have done in decades.

President Trump has moderated his criticism of NATO since taking office, but has maintained messaging  to some allies for failing to make “full and proper financial contributions.”

“Many of them have not been even close,” Trump said commenting on European defense spending. “And they have to do that,” Trump told U.S. troops in Florida earlier this month. This financial request makes some of the allies feel unease, especially Italy, struggling to come out from financial crisis.

The finance debate has overshadowed at least to some extend the major issue of the NATO, it’s raison d’être – the relations with Russia.

The ‘holy war’ of the Democrats against president Trump and his administration in attempt to block any of his electoral promises implementation, including the anticipated by many moderation of policy towards Russia,  does not allow NATO’s reform,  and moreover the alliance with Kremlin to defeat Islamic State. The defeat of the “radical Islamic terrorism” is of the priorities of Trump’s foreign policy.

The NATO as the  product of the cold war era was called “obsolete” by present Trump during the election campaign, however the US internal political confrontation does not allow him to start any reforms at the moment. The issue of NATO-Russia relations is not expected to be resolved as long as the political stalemate in Washington stays, delaying the defeat of Islamic State, profiting from the policy of confrontation between the West and Russia to expand its powers to North Africa.