nato

Russia warned Sweden, Finland about consequences of joining NATO

Moscow [Russia](ANI/Sputnik): Russia has warned Sweden and Finland about consequences of joining NATO via bilateral diplomatic channels, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

“We have issued all our warnings both publicly and through bilateral channels. They [Sweden and Finland] know about it, they will have nothing to be surprised about, they were informed about everything, what will it lead to,” Zakharova told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster. (ANI/Sputnik)

NATO sending ships, jets to eastern Europe amid Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine

Brussels [Belgium] (ANI): North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defence as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine.
In the past days, a number of NATO allies have made announcements regarding current or upcoming deployments. Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO’s long-standing air-policing mission in the region. Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria, NATO said in a statement on Monday. France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command. The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities in the region and is putting ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force. The US has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the alliance, the statement added.
“I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO said that in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO increased its presence in the eastern part of the alliance, including with four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These units, led by the UK, Canada, Germany and the US respectively, are multinational, and combat-ready. Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. There were no NATO forces in the eastern part of the Alliance before 2014. (Image source: Instagram)

Washington’s NATO military commitments complicate US strategic priority in Europe

Washington [US] (ANI): North Atlantic Treaty Organizations’ military commitments may prove costly for US strategic interest as Washington may be entangled in conflicts in Europe.
Many of America’s so-called allies are major liabilities rather than assets to US foreign policy. Indeed, they are potential snares, ones that can entangle America in unnecessary military confrontations, according to National Interest magazine. In too many cases, the “allies” that Washington touts are small, weak, often militarily useless dependents. Worse, some of them are on bad terms with more powerful neighboring states, writes Ted Galen Carpenter for the National Interest.
NATO constitutes a system of collective security, whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
Earlier, the US along with NATO took part in military operations in Afghanistan and in Libya under the United Nations Security Council-mandated mission.
However, NATO’s strategic fixation on Russia might complicate US interest in Europe as many of the member countries such as the Baltic nations are militarily weak.
Meanwhile, the current tension between Moscow and Kiev has increased Washington’s attention.
Washington’s security relationship with Kiev goes far beyond arms sales. Over the past five years, US forces have conducted multiple joint exercises with Ukrainian units.
Further, Washington also has successfully pressed NATO to include Ukraine in the alliance’s war games.
Earlier, in April last year, US President Joe Biden assured Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Washington’s “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”
On the other hand, Baltic nations are vulnerable dependents that could trigger a war between NATO (primarily the United States) and Russia, according to the 2016 RAND corporation think-tank report.
As a result of NATO’s expanded membership and mission, the United States has acquired a worrisome number of both types, according to National Interest. (Image Source: FreeRange)

US will consult closely with Ukraine, NATO on diplomatic engagements with Russia: Blinken

Washington [US]: The United States will remain in close contact with both Ukraine and NATO allies on diplomatic engagements with Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after a phone call with the Ukrainian president on Wednesday.
“Reiterated full U.S. support for Ukraine in my call with Ukrainian President @ZelenskyyUa,” Blinken wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to consult closely with Ukraine, @NATO Allies, and partners in our diplomatic efforts to deter further Russian aggression.”

Need to strengthen emergency evacuation capabilities: NATO on Afghan operations

Brussels [Belgium]: NATO needs to increase the capabilities of member states to conduct large-scale and urgent evacuation operations in the future, foreign ministers of the alliance said on Wednesday considering the evacuation operations undertaken in Afghanistan by the countries post-Taliban takeover.
“Meeting in Riga on Wednesday (1 December 2021), NATO Foreign Ministers discussed the lessons learned from the Alliance’s engagement in Afghanistan over almost two decades,” NATO said in a statement. Following the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces in August, a comprehensive political and military assessment was conducted by NATO, with the active involvement of its allies and other experts.
The ministers gathered in Latvia’s Riga to discuss the results of the alliance’s operation and the lessons they learned from their engagement in Afghanistan. “NATO should consider how to strengthen its capabilities to conduct short-notice, large-scale evacuation operations in the future,” the statement read.
“The assessment makes a number of other recommendations, including on maintaining interoperability with operational partners; considering the political and cultural norms of host nations, as well as their ability to absorb capacity-building and training; and ensuring timely reporting and meaningful consultations,” the statement added.
It also suggested that NATO should consider how to strengthen its capabilities to conduct short-notice, large-scale evacuation operations in the future.
The assessment’s key conclusions and recommendations are intended to inform NATO’s political and military leaders as they consider and direct future crisis management operations.

Stoltenberg says no consensus on having Ukraine become full NATO member

Brussels [Belgium] : North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members have no consensus on inviting Ukraine to become a full member, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says.
NATO’s partnership with Ukraine has become closer, Stoltenberg told “Axios on HBO” on Sunday, adding that nonetheless, there is currently no consensus agreement on inviting Ukraine to become a full member of the alliance. Russian Ambassador in the United States Anatoly Antonov said earlier this month that any ambitions to see Ukraine becoming a NATO member state are unacceptable.
During a Ukrainian delegation’s working visit to Washington, a new US-Ukrainian strategic charter was signed, which includes a provision reaffirming US support for Kiev’s aspirations to join NATO.
Commenting on prospects for Ukraine’s NATO membership, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin confirmed Washington’s support for Kiev’s aspirations, stating last month that third parties have no right to veto the accession.

Latvia to host NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting for first time on November 30

Riga [Latvia] : The Latvian capital of Riga will host a two-day NATO foreign ministers’ meeting from November 30 for the first time in the nation’s history, its foreign ministry said Wednesday.
“From November 30 to December 1, 2021, a meeting of NATO foreign ministers will take place in Latvia for the first time,” a press statement read. The allies will discuss a NATO Strategic Concept, which aims to reflect changes in European security and adopt the bloc’s core tasks to new challenges, including forming a cooperative approach to Russia.
“The development of NATO’s Strategic Concept is one of the key challenges ahead of the upcoming Madrid Summit,” Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said, referring to the NATO June 2022 summit.
Riga hosted a NATO summit in 2006. The ministry said that the ministerial meeting would be held amid strict coronavirus precautions. The head of Latvia’s largest COVID-19 clinic in Riga said on Tuesday that its critical care units were past the breaking point as hospitalizations continued to rise nationwide.

‘NATO seeks to turn Black Sea into confrontation area’

Moscow [Russia] : NATO seeks to turn the Black Sea region into the confrontation zone, and this is very dangerous, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.
“Now they have taken up the Black Sea region. We are witnessing increased activity on the territory of Bulgaria and Romania and are leading the way towards turning the black sea into an arena of military rivalry, as the Baltic Sea is already turned into the confrontation zone,” Grushko told the Russia 24 broadcaster, adding that “this is an extremely dangerous path that may lead to the risks of military incidents.” The official added that Russia was ready to cooperate with NATO on further “de-escalation” in the Baltic region but the alliance refused.

Pentagon chief may have ‘overplayed’ role in promoting Ukraine NATO bid

Washington [US]: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin may have gone too far in publicly voicing strong support for Ukraine joining NATO during a visit to Kiev, analysts told Sputnik.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club said that Austin’s recent comments about Kiev’s membership in the alliance could be interpreted as “opening the doors” for Ukraine to enter NATO. On Wednesday, commenting on prospects for Ukraine’s NATO membership, Austin confirmed Washington’s support for Kiev’s aspirations and emphasized that third countries have no right to veto the accession, in an obvious reference to Moscow.
“Putin’s words leave no doubt that he seriously takes Austin’s statement about opening doors for Ukraine to NATO,” American University in Moscow President Edward Lozansky told Sputnik. “Taking into account his previous repeated warnings about crossing red lines means that Austin overplayed his role.”
Given the Russian leader’s experience on the geopolitical chessboard, Lozansky added, Putin likely has a clear scenario in mind of how to respond in case “the crossing does take place.”
“We don’t know, of course, the details of his scenario but I do not think Biden and many responsible European leaders are ready to find out what they are,” Lozansky said. “Fortunately, the final decision will be made by them and not Austin.”
Former CIA station chief and analyst Philip Giraldi told Sputnik the Biden Administration has sent every possible signal to indicate that it favors inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia in the security alliance.
“We can expect the pressure to increase in the next several months and there is no NATO member who will be engaged enough on the issue to try to oppose it,” Giraldi said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told Sputnik on Thursday that Ukraine’s possible NATO entry would be an extremely dangerous step that would force Moscow to react.
Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO’s expansion and reckless military buildup in the region threatens to spark an unnecessary confrontation.

NATO to convene meeting on Afghanistan in Brussels

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the organisation is planning to convene a summit of defense ministers of the state members in which Afghanistan will be discussed, local media reported on Thursday.

Brussels [Belgium] : The meeting is reportedly being held in headquarter of NATO, Brussels on Thursday and Friday (local time), Khaama Press reported. The defense ministers of NATO state members will discuss potential terror threats evolving from Afghanistan, the publication reported.
“Taliban are accountable to NATO and their allies in terms of their commitments over addressing terrorism, human rights, and providing a safe route for people to leave Afghanistan,” Khaama Press quoted Stoltenberg as saying.
This comes after the Moscow Format concluded on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, member countries taking part in the Moscow Format Dialogue in a joint statement expressed concern over the use of Afghan soil by proscribed terrorists.
Russia on Thursday expressed concerns over the increasing presence of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Taliban take over. Delhi is also accusing Pakistan spy agency of supporting anti-India terror groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish on Afghan soil.
A joint statement issued after talks stated, “being concerned about the activities of proscribed terrorist organisations in Afghanistan, the sides reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan to contribute to regional stability.”
Participating countries also called on the current Afghan leadership to take further steps to improve governance and to form a truly inclusive government that adequately reflects the interests of all major ethnopolitical forces in the country.

Russia suspends mission to NATO from November: FM Lavrov

Moscow [Russia]: Russia will suspend activities of its permanent mission to NATO from November 1 or a few days later, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
“In response to NATO’s actions, we suspend the work of our permanent mission to NATO, including the work of the chief military representative, probably from November 1, or maybe it will take several more days,” Lavrov said during a press conference. He said that the alliance’s military liaison mission and information offices in Moscow would be closed and the accreditation of their employees revoked from November.
“If NATO has any urgent matters, they can address these issues to our ambassador in Belgium, who deals with bilateral relations between Russia and the Kingdom of Belgium,” Lavrov added.
The move follows NATO’s decision to expel eight members of the Russian mission to NATO in Brussels for allegedly working as intelligence officers, cutting their number to 10 in total. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance remained open to a dialogue with Russia.

EU leaders discuss EU-NATO declaration, alliance’s new strategic concept

Brussels [Belgium]: The leaders of the European Union countries discussed on Tuesday updating the EU-NATO declaration on counteracting mutual threats as well as the alliance’s new strategic concept, an EU official said.
Earlier in the day, the leaders met for an informal working dinner in Slovenia. “PEC (European Council President Charles Michel) announced member states will need to agree on a new EU-NATO declaration and the preparatory discussions leading up to a new strategic concept of the alliance,” the official told media.
Another important issue at the dinner was the concept of the bloc’s strategic autonomy and development of its own defense capacities, the source added.
“A central theme which keeps coming back is strategic autonomy. But this principle also needs to be clear/clarified among member states,” the official stated.
In June, the NATO leaders adopted a new strategic concept for the next decade, however, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) defense pact will have an impact on the alliance’s strategy in the future. On September 22, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said NATO partners, at the initiative of France and Germany, agreed to revise the strategic concept of the alliance.

What’s wrong with China’s construction work in Afghanistan, ask Taliban

China can take part in the construction of Afghanistan and provide assistance in other essential sectors, said the Taliban as it dismissed India’s concerns that stem from Beijing’s large-scale investment projects in the region.

Beijing [China], September 15 : Some of India’s concerns aren’t appropriate and neither are they plausible, said Taliban Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, in an interview with Chinese mouthpiece Global Times. With the US and NATO troops withdrawal from Afghanistan now over, the Taliban regime is looking to China for major investments in the coming six months in the troubled country.
“While having ended the occupation, we need to focus on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. And now China has come forward to help us with the construction of Afghanistan to create jobs for our people. So what is wrong with that?” asked Shaheen.
He said the Taliban has a policy of mutual self-interests and added that it is “very important” in this critical situation that China comes forward to help Afghanistan.
“China can also take part in the construction of Afghanistan and provide assistance in other essential sectors. After this, both countries can then enter into mutually beneficial bilateral agreements which best serve the interests of both countries through mutual respect.”
Earlier, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid had expressed that the group “desires” to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Citing the sources, Nikkei Asia reported that China has been courting the Taliban since 2018 on possible projects in Afghanistan.
“There are verbal agreements between Beijing and Taliban about investments,” Nikkei Asia quoted the sources as saying. The sources added, “Once the Taliban government gains global recognition, China will start building infrastructure projects in war-torn Afghanistan.”
Last week, a virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbours — China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan — was hosted by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
During the meeting, China promised emergency aid of USD 31 million to Afghanistan, including grain, winter supplies, vaccines and medicines. “What China can do now is maintain necessary contacts with the Taliban in the fields of normal economic activities and people-to-people exchanges,” reported Chinese state media.
Andrew Small, a senior trans-Atlantic fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund, believes the Taliban’s immediate investment requests give China leverage. “Beijing will be happy to dangle promises and engage in talks on the BRI and CPEC extensions, but will not move ahead with anything on the ground until they are confident of political and security conditions,” Small told Nikkei Asia.
CPEC is a part of China’s most ambitious project ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, aimed at renewing the country’s historic trade routes in the coastal countries of south-east Asia. With CPEC, Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia in order to counter the influence of the United States. (

NATO is Cold War term, Quad looks into future: EAM Jaishankar

New Delhi [India]: Following China’s reference to Quad as an ‘Asian NATO’, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Saturday said NATO was a “looking back term” while Quad is the “way forward.”
At the inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and Australia here, foreign and defence ministers of the two countries discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. “Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) is a platform where 4 countries have come to cooperate for their benefit and benefit of the world. I think a term like NATO (by China) is a Cold war term, looking back. Quad looks at the future. It reflects globalisation and compulsion of countries to work together,” EAM Jaishankar said while responding to a question on China referring to Quad as ‘Asian NATO’.
Citing various areas of cooperation between the Quad nations, EAM Jaishankar spoke against the misinterpretation of reality and said that there is no relation between the term NATO and Quad.
“If you look at the issues Quad has focused on today like vaccines, supply chains, I can’t see any relation with NATO or any other organisation. I think it’s important not to misrepresent what is the reality out there,” he said.
Adding to what EAM Jaishankar said, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated that “Jaishankar has explained and articulated the response extremely well.”
“As Australia and India have re-energised relationships, there is also the opportunity to work through smaller groups like the Quad and other pieces of regional architecture like East Asia Summit and ASEAN regional forum.”
She said Quad members are champions of the ASEAN centrality and actively engage in that regional architecture. “We have a positive and practical agenda, as minister Jaishanakar mentioned a number of those initiatives around vaccines, around climate and critical technology.”
Earlier today, EAM Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the 2+2 talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.

Quad is the future: S Jaishankar

Following China’s reference to Quad as an ‘Asian NATO’, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Saturday said NATO was a “looking back term” while Quad is the “way forward.”

New Delhi [India], September 11 : At the inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and Australia here, foreign and defence ministers of the two countries discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. “Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) is a platform where 4 countries have come to cooperate for their benefit and benefit of the world. I think a term like NATO (by China) is a Cold war term, looking back. Quad looks at the future. It reflects globalisation and compulsion of countries to work together,” EAM Jaishankar said while responding to a question on China referring to Quad as ‘Asian NATO’.
Citing various areas of cooperation between the Quad nations, EAM Jaishankar spoke against the misinterpretation of reality and said that there is no relation between the term NATO and Quad.
“If you look at the issues Quad has focused on today like vaccines, supply chains, I can’t see any relation with NATO or any other organisation. I think it’s important not to misrepresent what is the reality out there,” he said.
Adding to what EAM Jaishankar said, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne stated that “Jaishankar has explained and articulated the response extremely well.”
“As Australia and India have re-energised relationships, there is also the opportunity to work through smaller groups like the Quad and other pieces of regional architecture like East Asia Summit and ASEAN regional forum.”
She said Quad members are champions of the ASEAN centrality and actively engage in that regional architecture. “We have a positive and practical agenda, as minister Jaishanakar mentioned a number of those initiatives around vaccines, around climate and critical technology.”
Earlier today, EAM Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the 2+2 talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.

Afghanistan: NATO, EU, UN confirm they will not recognise govt formed through military

Kabul [Afghanistan]: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members along with European Union and the United Nations on Friday confirmed that they will not recognize any government in Afghanistan imposed through armed forces.
A NATO official in Brussels also told Pajhwok Afghan News that allies are constantly consulting on the situation in Afghanistan. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is in regular contact with Allies and the Afghan authorities. “NATO is monitoring the security situation very closely. We continue to coordinate with the Afghan authorities and the rest of the international community. We continue to maintain our diplomatic presence in Kabul. As the security of our personnel is paramount,” NATO official informed.
His remarks came soon after a media report informed that Several foreign terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda are aiding the Taliban which is rapidly advancing in Afghanistan.
The Taliban escalated its offensive against the Afghan forces soon after the US forces started leaving Afghanistan in large numbers after the peace deal signed between Washington and the Taliban in February last year.
On Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani also appointed a new chief of army staff in an attempt to give a robust response to the terror group on the ground.

Blinken discusses Afghanistan with NATO, Canada, Germany

Washington DC [US], August 13 : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held phone talks with his Canadian and German counterparts as well as the NATO chief to discuss plans for embassy staff drawdown in Afghanistan, the State Department said.
The Taliban has managed to capture several key provincial capitals over the last several weeks, including the country’s second-largest city Kandahar. This comes as intra-Afghan talks have effectively stalled in Doha. “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke separately today with Canadian Foreign Minister Garneau, German Foreign Minister Maas, and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to discuss with them the United States’ plans to reduce our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation,” the US State Department said in a statement on Thursday.
Blinken reiterated the US commitment to maintaining diplomatic and security ties with the Afghan government and working with allies to curb violence in the country and search for a political solution.
On Thursday, Pentagon said the US was set to reduce the diplomatic corps in Afghanistan by August 31. Around 3,000 US troops will be temporarily deployed in Kabul to facilitate the evacuation.
Earlier on Thursday, Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin held talks with Afghan President Ghani and discussed the current security situation in the country and the US plans to reduce America’s civilian footprint in Kabul.
Blinken also re-affirmed that the US is committed to supporting a diplomatic solution to the conflict and enduring partnership with the Afghan people.
“Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III spoke today with President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani to stress that the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
“Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin informed President Ghani that the United States is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation and will accelerate the tempo of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) flights,” Price added.

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