BRUSSELS – NATO defense ministers, meeting today and tomorrow and Brussels, are expected to agree on a new general plan to defend the Alliance from any potential Russian attack on multiple fronts, confirming the attempt to dissuade Moscow from hostile initiatives despite the new focus on China . The strategy, which is confidential, goes beyond existing regional defense plans and aims to prepare for any simultaneous attack in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, which could include nuclear weapons, according to leaks from diplomats and officials on the eve of the meeting. , hacking of computer networks or activities in space. The sources, quoted by the Reuters agency, however, said that such an attack would not be imminent.
«Future conflicts will be fought not only with bullets and bombs, but also with bytes and big data. We see authoritarian regimes rushing to develop new technologies, from artificial intelligence to autonomous systems. So we are taking further steps to future-proof our Alliance, ”said the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, presenting the work of the defense ministers.
Russia denies any war intentions, saying it is NATO that risks destabilizing Europe with such preparations. But US officials and NATO diplomats reported that the “concept of deterrence and defense in the Euro-Atlantic area” – and its strategic implementation plan – is now necessary as Russia is developing advanced weapon systems and using troops and equipment in areas closer to the Allied borders.
“In the event of such serious disputes, there will be a need for activity across the entire area of operations,” a senior US official said. “Different things can happen at the same time and that really requires holistic planning.” NATO has always had plans in place to defend and protect the entire Euro-Atlantic area, Stoltenberg pointed out for his part. “But of course, as the security environment changes and our challenges and potential threats are changing, we need to adapt and modernize those plans,” he added.
In May, Russia mustered around 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, the highest number since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, according to Western officials. In September, Russia then used new combat robots in major military exercises with its former Soviet ally Belarus, which intimidated its Baltic allies. Moscow would also be upgrading or replacing Soviet military space systems and developing artificial intelligence-based technologies to destroy allied command systems.
“The relationship between NATO and Russia is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War, and the reason for this is Russian behavior,” Stoltenberg said. “They have invaded neighbors, they have annexed part of another country, they are investing heavily in new nuclear capabilities and violating one of the cornerstones of our arms control regime, the INF Treaty, which led to the end of that treaty. They are meddling in our democratic processes and we have seen Russia being responsible for aggressive actions against NATO allies “, continued Stoltenberg, recalling that only” a few allies can have a full spectrum defense “,” land, air, sea, cyber “. “Most depend on others for some of these abilities and only by joining forces and working together” can we have better protection, he insisted.
Retired American general Ben Hodges, who commanded US forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017, for his part expressed to Reuters the hope that the strategic plan could lead to greater coherence in the collective defense of NATO, which means more resources for the Black Sea region. “For me, this is the most likely tipping point compared to the Baltics,” said Hodges.
Jamie Shea, a former senior NATO official now at the Friends of Europe think tank in Brussels, said the plan could also help cement attention to Russia at a time when the US, Britain and France are developing. Indo-Pacific strategies. “Russia has so far been assumed to be a nuisance, but not an imminent threat. But the Russians are doing worrying things, they are practicing robotics and hypersonic cruise missiles can actually be very disruptive, ”Shea said.
(with source Askanews)
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