At NATO Summit, a Biting Description of Russia

Russia called 'most significant and direct threat'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2022 8:00 AM CDT
NATO Once Called Russia a Partner. Now, a 'Direct Threat'
NATO leaders pose for a group photo following the official welcome for the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

NATO declared Russia the "most significant and direct threat" to its members’ peace and security, as the military alliance met Wednesday to confront what NATO’s chief called the biggest security crisis since World War II. The leaders are also set to publish NATO’s new Strategic Concept, its once-a-decade set of priorities and goals. The last such document, in 2010, called Russia a "strategic partner." Now, the alliance is set to declare Moscow its No. 1 threat, reports the AP.

NATO also promised to "step up political and practical support" to Ukraine as it fights off Russia’s invasion. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy chided NATO for not embracing his embattled country more fully and asked for more weapons to defeat Moscow's forces. He also lamented that NATO's open-door policy to new members did not appear to apply to his country.

President Biden, whose country provides the bulk of NATO's military power, vowed the Madrid summit would send "an unmistakable message ... that NATO is strong and united. ... We’re stepping up. We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been,” said Biden. He announced a hefty boost in America's military presence in Europe, including a permanent US base in Poland, two more Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and two more F35 squadrons to the UK.

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Still, strains among NATO allies have also emerged as the cost of energy and other essential goods has skyrocketed, partly because of the the war and tough Western sanctions on Russia. Money could also be a sensitive issue—just nine of NATO’s 30 members currently meet the organization’s target of spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense. (More NATO stories.)

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