NATO warns of Russian Baltic build-up

NATO chief Stoltenberg calls for response to ongoing Russian military build-up in Baltic Sea and Mediterranean

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Portuguese Defense Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco arrive at the NATO Exercise Trident Juncture in Troia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg alerted member countries of the alliance on Thursday of the Russian military presence from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

Secretary Stoltenberg called on NATO members to gather to discuss the matter regarding the Russian buildup with senior allied officials and military commanders, they attended a number of Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 training sessions in Portugal.

After the NATO exercise, Stoltenberg stressed at a joint conference that Russian military presence could limit NATO's and the United States's access concerning certain regions.

"We have to be sure that we are able to overcome these capabilities, so we can reinforce, so we can move and we can deploy forces if needed," Stoltenberg said.

The NATO chief stressed that Russia’s new capabilities could raise questions concerning NATO’s agenda regarding what defence specialists call "anti-access/area denial."

On Wednesday, Eastern European NATO members met in Bucharest, Romania in a bid to response to Russia after its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Portuguese Defence Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco (unseen), on board Frigate Vasco de Gama

At a press conference, the NATO chief said the alliance would allow for the rethinking of the Russian approach which allows for their military presence in Baltics and Mediterranean.

"The important thing is that we have military presence," the Stoltenberg said.

"To some extent, it is artificial to distinguish between occasional military presence and other kinds that are more persistent."

In a joint press conference with the Portuguese Defence Minister José Pedro Aguiar Branco, in a question that was asked by a journalist regarding how NATO should act concerning the Russian presence in the certain regions, Stoltenberg said,

“We have already increased our military presence in the eastern part of the alliance with more planes in the air, with more boots, troops on the ground and also with more ships at sea. And in addition to the increased military presence in the eastern part of the alliance we have also increased our ability to reinforce if needed with the Enhanced NATO Response Force which is more than twice as big as the previous force and also with the establishment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force or the Spearhead Force which has increased our ability to deploy forces on short notice if needed,” Stoltenberg said.

For the past three weeks, more than 36,000 NATO personnel and partner nations have been taking part in exercises in countries from Portugal to Italy.

The exercises also includes articles regarding fighting against ISIS in Middle East and North Africa.


TRTWorld and agencies