“Russia bears full responsibility for the violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We support the position that the situation where one party complies with an agreement and the other violates it cannot continue,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said today in Brussels where NATO Ministers of defence met to address possible steps of the Alliance in response to the INF Treaty violation on side Russian. “Russia still has an opportunity to rescue the Treaty if its returns to a full and credible compliance. The violation, on the other hand, presents a threat , therefore the Alliance cannot do nothing and not to prepare for a new development in the security situation. The Alliance stood exceptionally united when presenting the response to the Russian violations, now we have to agree what steps we need in response to the violation and its effects on the allies’ security.”
The NATO Defence Ministers meeting on February 13 also addresses further enhancement of NATO deterrence and defence measures. Ministers agreed to a political NATO guidelines – the most important document for the long-term NATO capability planning in which great attention is given to collective defence and capability development.
The NATO Ministerial also addresses the Readiness Initiative according to which NATO allies have to have 30 mechanised battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 warships ready to deploy within 30 days by 2020.
“Our goal is to make sure that all forces defined in the Initiative are at the agreed level of readiness and a full implementation of the Initiative as soon as possible so that NATO and national forces currently on the ground in Lithuania would receive timely support and reinforcement of NATO allies in case of a crisis,” Minister R. Karoblis underscored in his address. Minister also emphasised that NATO had to ensure corresponding capabilities and ability to respond quickly so that allies could deploy reinforcement swiftly into the Baltic states in case of crisis.
In the evening of February 13 NATO Defence Ministers will also discuss the progress made by NATO allies on reaching the agreed increase in defence spending and present national defence spending growth plans. Total defence spending of NATO allies has increased by USD 41 billion since 2016. The number is expected to grow up to USD 100 billion next year.
“Lithuania has not only fulfilled the 2% of GDP for defence commitment but also reached an agreement among political parties to increase the spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030,” R. Karoblis said. Minister underscores that increasing the defence spending will allow NATO to develop the capabilities in needs in the long-term and to counter emerging threats.
Tomorrow the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting agenda includes sessions on multinational NATO missions and operations and NATO-EU defence cooperation.
Photo: courtesy of NATO