NATO faced rebukes from Moscow and Beijing on Thursday after it declared Russia a "direct threat" and said China posed "serious challenges" to global stability. The Western military alliance was wrapping up a summit in Madrid, where it issued a stark warning that the world has been plunged into a dangerous phase of big-power competition and myriad threats, from cyberattacks to climate change. NATO leaders also formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance. From the AP:
- Putin vows response. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he would respond in kind if the Nordic pair allowed NATO troops and military infrastructure onto their territory. He said Russia will have to "create the same threats for the territory from which threats against us are created."
- "Nothing new" from Russia. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Putin's threats were "nothing new." "Of course, we have to expect some kind of surprises from Putin, but I doubt that he is attacking Sweden or Finland directly," she said. "We will see cyberattacks definitely. We will see hybrid attacks, information war is going on. But not the conventional war."
- China says NATO is the one causing problems. China accused the alliance of “maliciously attacking and smearing" the country. Its mission to the European Union said NATO "claims that other countries pose challenges, but it is NATO that is creating problems around the world."
- Ukraine invasion brought "biggest overhaul" in decades. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the summit that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had brought "the biggest overhaul of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the summit by video link, urged NATO to send modern artillery systems and other weapons and warned the leaders they either had to provide Kyiv with the help it needed or "face a delayed war between Russia and yourself." "The question is, who’s next? Moldova? Or the Baltics? Or Poland? The answer is: all of them,” he said.
- Biden is boosting US presence in Europe. President Biden, announced a hefty boost in America’s military presence in Europe, including a permanent US base in Poland. The expansion will keep 100,000 troops in Europe for the foreseeable future, up from 80,000 before the war in Ukraine began.
- Rapid reaction force is being scaled up. NATO leaders agreed to dramatically scale up military force along the alliance’s eastern flank, where countries from Romania to the Baltic states worry about Russia’s future plans. It announced plans to increase almost eightfold the size of the alliance’s rapid reaction force, from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, by next year.
- NATO issues new Strategic Concept. At what Stoltenberg called a "transformative" summit, the leaders published 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, NATO is accusing Russia of using “coercion, subversion, aggression and annexation” to extend its reach. The 2010 document made no mention of China, but the new one addressed Bejing’s growing economic and military reach. NATO said that China “strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains.
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