NATO will be able to deploy forces on short notice – in any moment that an attack against one of its allies is launched – with its “high readiness spearhead force” in place for 2015. Troops from Netherlands, Norway and Germany were deployed to NATO’s eastern allies to provide “a very rapid response force” to be able to protect all allies against any threat, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told press in Berlin on Jan 14.
Meanwhile, Russia had stationed 800 servicemen from its Northern Fleet in Alakurtti – just within 50 kilometres from the Finnish border – with the rest of the fleet to be deployed soon according to announcement made by Commanding Admiral Vladimir Korolev on Jan 13. Russia‘s Northern Fleet in full force consists of approximately 3,000 ground troops, 39 war ships and 45 submarines, he said.
NATO’s deployment of its “high readiness spearhead force” is part of a Readiness Action Plan that was hatched at the Wales Summit in September 2014. This action plan is a response to the challenges that NATO and its country allies have seen to the East where Russia has illegally annexed part of a neighbour’s territory – something that has not happened in Europe since World War Two, Stoltenberg said.
The Readiness Action Plan shall be implemented in full and on time because the high readiness force and the command and control presence in the East of NATO’s alliance are key, Stoltenberg said. This has been discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel according to Stoltenberg, saying that Germany is NATO’s staunch ally.
Both leaders have called for Russia to respect the core values and the rule-based system that NATO and its allies have strived to establish in Europe, including the Minsk agreement. One of the basic values is to respect the integrity and sovereignty of all nations in Europe – something that Russia has violated in Ukriane, Stoltenberg said. Through Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukarine, Russia is undermining the order that has ensured peace and erased divisions in Europe over the last 25 years, he highlighted.
Russia has stationed 800 of its Northern fleet in the Finnish border to strengthen its defence manoeuvres against the west and bolster their rights over their territories in the Arctic, Korolev said in a statement obtained by Newsweek. The new base in Alakurtti will be built with 14 airfields from which 10 are already due to be opened in the succeeding months, Korolev outlined in his statement. Russia’s deputy defence minister general Dmitry Bulgakov confirmed Korolev’s announcement, saying that all troops stationed in the new base will be given frost resistant uniforms that will protect them from temperatures as low as negative 60 degrees Celsius.
During his press statement in Berlin, Stoltenberg underlined that NATO is not seeking confrontation with Russia. He said NATO aspires for a more constructive and cooperative relationship with Russia. But, for this to be possible, Russia must want it too, he said.
“Nobody wants a new Cold War. But we cannot compromise on the principles on which our security rests. And on which the international order is based,” Stoltenberg added.