Reuters & RT News & Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty & The National Review – 2018-07-18 01:03:27
A Timeline of Key Events in
NATO’s History from 1949 to 2008
David Cutler / Reuters
(March 31, 2008) — The largest summit in NATO’s history starting on Wednesday could mould the West’s relations with Russia for years to come, and show whether the US-led alliance has the resolve to win the war in Afghanistan. The three-day meeting in Bucharest offers US President George W. Bush and Russia’s Vladimir Putin the chance to burnish the legacies they leave on the world stage as each prepares to leave office.
Here are some key dates in the Western military organization’s 59-year history:
April 4, 1949 — US, Canada and 10 West European states sign the Washington Treaty to create the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Article 5 states: “The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all . . . ”
May 6, 1955 — West Germany joins NATO, prompting the Soviet Union eight days later to gather eight east European nations into the Warsaw Pact coalition.
March 10, 1966 — President Charles de Gaulle pulls France out of NATO’s integrated military structure. NATO headquarters moves from Paris to Brussels the following year. France subsequently rejoins NATO’s military command in 1993.
Dec 9-10, 1976 — NATO rejects Warsaw Pact proposals to renounce first use of nuclear arms and restrict membership.
Nov 19, 1990 — With the Cold War over, NATO and the Warsaw Pact issue a joint non-aggression declaration. Eight months later, the Warsaw Treaty Organization is officially disbanded.
Dec 16, 1995 — NATO launches largest military operation to date, in support of the Bosnian peace agreement.
March 24, 1999 — NATO begins air strikes against Yugoslavia over Kosovo, the first time it has used force against a sovereign state without UN approval.
Sept 12, 2001 — NATO invokes Article 5 for first time after the 9/11 attacks on United States, later deploying Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft to United States.
Aug 11, 2003 — NATO takes command of Kabul-based peacekeeping in Afghanistan, its first deployment outside Europe or North America, and one that will see its forces engage in their bloodiest ground combat.
April 2, 2004 — NATO expands to 26 members when former communist states Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia join, five years after the entry of Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
Dec 8, 2005 — NATO foreign ministers approve a plan to expand the alliance’s peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
July 31, 2006 — NATO forces take over security from the US-led coalition in southern Afghanistan, embarking on one of the alliance’s toughest ground operations in its history.
June 25, 2007 — NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer mounts a stout defense of US missile shield plan in eastern Europe ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sees the plan as a threat to Russia.
April 2-4, 2008 — Croatia, Macedonia and Albania hope to be invited to join the Western alliance at the summit of NATO’s 26 leaders in Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
The History of NATO: Year by Year
( April 25, 2017) — See how the military alliance known as NATO has grown over the years starting from the Cold War to Montenegro’s ascension in 2017
NATO Activity on Russian Borders ‘Doubled,’
Provoking Moscow’s Response — Russian Defense Ministry
(June 29, 2016) — NATO activity on Russia’s doorstep has “more than doubled” recently, forcing Russia to take retaliatory measures, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.
“Now NATO and the US have deployed about 1,200 pieces of military equipment, including 30 combat jets, as well as more than 1,000 soldiers on the territories of the Eastern European countries on a rotational basis. The US navy ships as well as military vessels of other NATO members regularly enter the Baltic and Black Seas,” Shoigu said Wednesday at the session of the Russian Defense Ministry Board that comprises Russia’s top military command, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry.
He added that NATO also continues to modernize and upgrade various military facilities in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic States to bring them up to NATO standards.
The deployment of the US anti-missile defense systems (ABM) in Eastern Europe is a source of particular concern for the Russian military, the minister said at the meeting, which was dedicated to planning and development of Russia’s western military district.
“On May 12, an Aegis Ashore anti-missile defense complex became operational in Romania,” Shoigu said, stressing that this complex can be used to launch Tomahawk missiles and adding that construction of another such ABM site continues in Poland.
The minister also warned that, after the Warsaw summit that will be held on July 8-9, NATO can “significantly increase” its presence and activity near the Russian borders.
“Such moves of our western colleagues lead to erosion of the strategic stability in Europe and force us to take counter measures, primarily in the western theater of operations,” Shoigu said, stressing that Russia takes actions aimed at strategic deterrence in the western military district to “neutralize potential threats.”
Special attention is paid to the issue of supplying the troops deployed in the district with modern weapons as well as military and specialized equipment. “This year, more than 2,000 pieces of new and modernized military equipment will enter operational service [within the units of] the western military district,” Shoigu announced.
The minister also added that 10,000 contract soldiers have been recruited to the armed forces while the construction of 10 modern garrison towns is almost finished. In April, a new army corps was formed within Russia’s Baltic Fleet, which received two new warships, six motor boats, new multiple rocket launcher and air defense systems in the last three years, the ministry’s statement says.
Shoigu also emphasized that Russia recently also intensified its military drills. More than 300 operational and battle exercises as well as joint force grouping drills were staged last winter, he said, adding that, during the drills, the troops used combat experience that Russian forces gained during the anti-terrorist operation in Syria.
Russia also held a number of international command staff exercises in cooperation with Belarus during that period. Now Russia is preparing to host massive command staff exercises of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that will involve troops from Russia, Belarus, Kirgizia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
The drills, named “Cooperation-2016,” are due to take place in western Russia in August. “Such close cooperation will promote coordination of collective actions aimed at providing collective security,” Shoigu stressed in his speech at the Defense Ministry Board meeting.
The meeting of the Russian top military command comes just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to strengthen and modernize Russian armed forces in response to foreign pressure.
He stressed that “army and navy” are a guarantee of Russia’s sovereignty and “a weighty argument against any attempts to provoke us, against blackmail or pressure on our country,” as he spoke at the he ceremony for distinguished graduates of Russian military and law enforcement schools.
Russia has repeatedly criticized the NATO buildup on its borders, stressing that it undermines security and stability in the region. Russian officials also accused NATO of deliberately portraying Russia as a threat to justify its actions and huge military spending.
On June 16, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov blasted NATO for “intentionally creating panic and maintaining the image of a treacherous enemy.”
On June 14, NATO agreed to deploy a new 4,000-strong force in the Baltic States and Poland in addition to more than 1,000 soldiers already stationed there on a rotational basis.
US and Allies Sink USS Racine as China Watches NATO’s Pacific exercise
(July 16, 2018) — Australian, Japanese and US troops have banded together to sink the decommissioned USS Racine during the Rim Of The Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 naval exercise.
The USS Racine was a Newport-class of Landing Ship, Tank (LST) and served for 22 years before being sent to rest in Pearl Harbor in 1993. However in January the US Navy announced that it would be used for target practice during the RIMPAC 2018 exercise. The sinking drill took place on Thursday last week.
The SINKEX involving the ship was the first in RIMPAC history, in which land-based forces participated. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the US Army forces fired surface-to-ship missiles at the hulk from some 100km while an Australian P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft was providing targeting data.
The attack submarine USS Olympia then fired a Harpoon missile and a Mk-48 torpedo to finish the job. The exercise was observed by a Chinese Type 815 Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel from afar.
The Chinese Navy was ‘disinvited’ from the RIMPAC 2018 exercise just weeks before it began on June 29. China took part in two previous installments of the exercise in 2014 and 2016.
Pentagon, Citing Russian Patrols, Bolsters
US, NATO Presence In North Atlantic
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
(May 5, 2018) — The Pentagon has launched a new naval command to bolster the US and NATO presence in the northern Atlantic Ocean, citing an increased Russian presence in those waters.
“The return to great power competition and a resurgent Russia demands that NATO refocus on the Atlantic to ensure dedicated reinforcement of the continent and demonstrate a capable and credible deterrence effect,” Johnny Michael, a Pentagon spokesman, said on May 4.
The new NATO command “will be the linchpin of trans-Atlantic security,” he said. Outlines of the plan were approved at a February meeting of NATO defense ministers as part of a broader effort to ensure the security of the sea lanes and lines of communication between Europe and North America.
The Pentagon’s decision reflects growing worries across Europe and within NATO about Russia’s increased military presence and patrols in the Atlantic region.
Russia has increased its patrols in the Baltic Sea, the North Atlantic, and the Arctic, NATO officials say, although the size of its navy is smaller now than during the Cold War era.
Despite evidence that Russia’s weak economy forced Moscow to slash military spending by 20 percent last year, Czech Army General Petr Pavel, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, told RFE/RL in an interview that NATO still must build up its defenses.
“Russian military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear, are significant,” he said. “And we simply cannot be blind to an increase of defense capabilities in all services, all domains. That’s why we have to react.”
Under the new plan, the United States will set up NATO’s new Atlantic Command headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, where the Pentagon is also offering to host a proposed NATO Joint Force Command.
Russia ‘More Assertive’
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in February that “we have seen a much more assertive Russia, we have seen a Russia which has over many years invested heavily in their military capabilities, modernized their military capabilities, which are exercising not only conventional forces but also nuclear forces.”
He said the new Atlantic Command will be vital for the alliance to be able to respond. NATO also created a new logistics command, which is expected to be located in Germany.
At the same time, the US Navy is re-establishing its 2nd Fleet command, which was eliminated in 2011 in a move to save costs.
Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said the move comes as the security environment “continues to grow more challenging and complex” now that “we’re back in an era of great power competition.”
The Navy said the command will oversee ships, aircraft, and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean, and will be responsible for training forces and conducting maritime operations in the region.
Restarting the command was one of several recommendations in a Navy study done following two deadly ship collisions last year that killed a total of 17 sailors.
The command will begin operations July 1. It will report to US Fleet Forces, and will initially include 11 officers and 4 enlisted personnel. Those numbers will eventually increase to more than 250 personnel, the Pentagon said.
With reporting by AP and Reuters
US Will Sell Ukraine 210 Anti-Tank
Missiles to Defend against Russia
Mairead McArdle / The National Review
(March 2, 2018) — The US will dramatically increase its defense aid to Ukraine, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted his new nuclear weapons could not be intercepted by another country.
The Trump administration informed Congress it will sell Ukraine 210 anti-tank missiles to ward off Russian encroachments.
“You have failed to contain Russia,” Putin said in his Thursday statement, adding that NATO’s missile defenses will be “useless” against Russia’s weapons of mass destruction.
The US is training Ukraine’s military to use the new missiles, which include the 210 Javelin missiles and 37 command launch units. The $47 billion in weapons will reach Ukraine around mid April.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long called for more aid to Ukraine, and the Pentagon and State Department have already approved the plan.
The Trump administration has expressed a desire to remain friendly with Russia, but has threatened to toughen sanctions on the country if it becomes too ambitious. Sanctions put in place after Russia annexed Crimea will remain until the area is freed, the White House said.
On Wednesday the president told a room of governors that Russia is “behaving badly” on North Korea, and last month the president stated he has been “much tougher on Russia” than the Obama administration.
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