NATO announced late Wednesday it will triple the capacity of its Response Force to 40,000 troops…In light of Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine and Moscow’s recent decision to upgrade its military, including its nuclear arsenal, NATO is “carefully assessing the implications of what Russia is doing, including its nuclear activities…”
Nato, in an echo of the cold war, is preparing to re-evaluate its nuclear weapons strategy in response to growing tension with Russia over Ukraine, sources at the organisation have said.
Updating Nato’s nuclear policy would amount to an escalation in tit-for-tat exchanges with Russia since the Ukraine crisis erupted last year.
From top-level decisions like how NATO orders its troops into action to the very granular, like repainting an airfield near the Baltic Sea coast, the U.S.-led alliance is retooling for what it fears could be years of confrontation with a resurgent and unpredictable Russia.
Moscow is preparing to prolong retaliatory measures against the EU, after the bloc extended for six months economic sanctions against Russia, raising the prospect of a frozen conflict in Ukraine that analysts say will damage both sides.
Following the expected June 22 extension decision by the EU foreign ministers…Moscow ministries were instructed to draw up proposals for renewing counter-measures for submission to President Vladimir Putin.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. will deploy one armored combat brigade to Europe, bolstering joint training exercises with NATO partners in an effort to deter Russian aggression in eastern Europe. Carter said the armored brigade will include tanks, artillery and armored vehicles.
The European Union has extended economic sanctions against Russia until January to keep pressure on Moscow over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, drawing a rebuke and a warning of retaliation from Russian officials. An EU statement released on Monday said the decision was taken without debate by the bloc’s foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, in response to “Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine”.
The theme of the 2015 St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is “Time to act: shared paths to sustainability and growth”. But as Russia pushes through major economic upheavals and growing international isolation, President Vladimir Putin’s speech in the northern city on June 19 was conspicuously lacking a real action plan to re-energise the business environment.
Thousands of NATO troops are on the move this month in Poland and the Baltic states, practicing sea landings, air lifts and assaults. The massive maneuvers on NATO’s eastern flank that began in early June include the first-ever training by the new, rapid reaction “spearhead” force, and are NATO’s biggest defense boost since the Cold War.
Addressing the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday June 19, the Russian President addressed the country’s economic prospects in face of the ongoing sanctions, saying “What I want to note, however, is that by the end of last year, as you know very well, people were predicting that we were in for a very deep crisis. This has not happened. We have stabilised the situation, absorbed the negative short-term fluctuations, and are now making our way forward confidently through this difficult patch.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is open to continuing economic co-operation with the West, despite sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis. Speaking at an economic forum in St Petersburg, he said Russia’s economy had adapted to the sanctions.