NATO defense ministers have failed to agree on the first contingency plan for a Russian attack since the Cold War, Reuters reports. One of the diplomats who spoke to the paper accused Turkey of derailing the agreement.
The meeting of representatives of the alliance countries was held in Brussels. According to a source of the agency, Ankara had not agreed to approve some of the language in the document, including with regard to Cyprus (Turkey has occupied a third of the peninsula). Turkey’s diplomatic mission to NATO said it would be wrong to comment on the classified document. “The usual process of consultations and assessments between allies is continuing”, it said.
A U.S. official spoke to Reuters, confirming that the document had not been officially approved, but expressed hope that it would be agreed by the July NATO summit in Vilnius.
The Russia Attack Plan is a thousand-page document that spells out actions to take in the event a Russian attack is necessary to defend against. The arrangements will include both troop reinforcements and logistics, and they may take several years to implement.
“The allies will know exactly what forces and capabilities are needed, where, what and how to deploy”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, commenting on the preparation of documents that will assign divisions and brigades of the alliance to the defense of specific regions for the first time since the collapse of the USSR.
After Russia’s seizure of Crimea, the North Atlantic Alliance multiplied the number of rapid reaction forces, and in 2022 increased them almost eightfold further, from 40,000 to 300,000 men. Multinational battalions appeared first in the three Baltic states and Poland, and later in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has grown into the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, is forcing NATO generals to prepare for a war on a fundamentally different scale than the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where NATO troops were involved.
In his speech at the SPIEF plenary session, Vladimir Putin threatened NATO countries to strike at their territories if Western states agree to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets and deploy them at their bases.
“If they (F-16s) are stationed at air bases outside Ukraine and used in combat operations, Russia will see how and where we can hit those means that are used in combat operations against us”, Putin said.