News / Europe

Obama: New NATO Force a Signal to Russia

NATO Creates Rapid Response Forcei
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Al Pessin
September 05, 2014 10:24 PM
NATO leaders meeting in Britain have approved the creation of a force that will maintain a presence in Eastern Europe to deter and, if necessary, respond to any Russian attack. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from the summit site in Newport, Wales.
Al Pessin

President Barack Obama said Friday that the creation of a NATO "rapid-reaction" force will serve as a signal to Russia to avoid any future potential aggression similar to the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.

The force, which will consist of several thousand ground troops, with naval, air and special forces units in support, will be staffed on a rotating basis by member countries, and will be ready to deploy on a few days’ notice.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said earlier the force would be designed in particular to bolster the security of the former Soviet satellite states that are now part of the 28-member alliance, such as Poland or the three Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Watch a related video report by Luis Ramirez from Wales:

Obama Secures NATO Member Pledges to Boost Defense Spendingi
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Luis Ramirez
September 05, 2014 11:05 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama has left the NATO summit in Britain after securing pledges from members to boost their spending on defense in the face of threats from Russia, and separately, from Islamist rebels in Iraq and Syria. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez traveled with the president and has this report from Wales.

 

Speaking to reporters at the summit site in Wales, President Obama said that he was hopeful that the cease-fire announced earlier Friday by Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels would hold.

"Our alliance is fully united in support of Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and its right to defend itself," he said.

"With respect to the ceasefire agreement, obviously we are hopeful but based on past experience also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and the Russians will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. "So it has to be tested."

But he also underscored that the rapid-reaction force was a demonstration of NATO’s central concept known as Article V: that an attack on one alliance member is considered an attack on all alliance members.

“We mean what we say when we talk about our Article V presence, and an increased presence serves as an additional deterrent to any more Russian aggression we might see,” Obama said.

Economic sanctions imposed by Washington and European Union nations against Russia could be lifted if the cease-fire holds, he said, but he also that the US and its allies were preparing new sanctions.

"Today the United States and Europe are finalizing measures to deepen and broaden our sanctions across Russia's financial, energy and defense sectors," Obama told reporters.

Britain will contribute 3,500 personnel to the rapid-reaction force, Prime Minister David Cameron said. It's unclear what other contributions from other NATO members will entail.

The force will have bases ready in several NATO countries in Eastern Europe, potentially the Baltic States, Poland and Romania, with equipment and supplies in storage and a small command, planning and communications staff on site.
 
“The decision we have taken today to prepare a readiness action plans sends a very, very clear message to Russia that we are strongly determined to take all steps necessary to provide effective protection and defense of our allies," Rasmussen said.
 
He called the decision an appropriate response to the “dramatically changed security environment in Europe.”
 
NATO also announced that its 2016 summit will be hosted by Poland, which Rasmussen said was symbolic of the alliance’s commitment to its eastern members.

Rasmussen also welcomed the cease-fire agreement in eastern Ukraine, but indicated some skepticism about whether it will hold.
 
“One thing of course is to declare a cease-fire.  The next and crucial step, of course, is to implement it in good faith, and that remains to be seen.  But so far, so good," he said.

NATO leaders also agreed on more cooperation on the crisis in Iraq, and Rasmussen welcomed military and humanitarian involvement by several allies, including the United States. 

The alliance may help coordinate some support functions, like airlift, but, he said, NATO will have no role inside Iraq unless invited by the Iraqi government, and even then probably only for training.

He also said NATO leaders agreed to share information on their citizens who go to Iraq to fight with the militants and then try to return to Europe or North America. 

The ministers also agreed to engage with the new, incoming Iraqi government,  to try to improve the situation in northern Iraq, where radical militants from the Islamic State have seized wide swaths of territory and terrorized residents.

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by: Jeff from: America
September 08, 2014 9:37 AM
Its a good start, we really need that force to be manned by every member nation so that if any action is ever taken against it, the consequences have to actually be dealt with. The US cannot act alone anymore, it just does not work out well for anyone without full buy in from all member nations.

by: van from: vn
September 07, 2014 11:17 AM
Is Putin a good person to make friends with? I never think so because :

1/. Nato invites Russia to join Nato. be partner with Nato to protect peace around the world but Putin refuses.--- He wants to confront Nato later
2/. Georgia wants to join Nato , Putin objects. Putin attacks and separates into Apkadia and Ossestia ,then he bases his Russian military there. Part of Geogia becomes Russia territory ---Putin uses force to occupy other country territory to expand Russia.
3/. Syrian people demonstated for democracy, Assad oppressed his people that made hundreds of thousand die. Putin protected Assad to maintain his naval base in tartus .---he protected his own interest ,protect the evil
4/. Ukraine is Russian neighbor , but he also does not tolerate . President Yanukovic is his people , he supported Kiev. But when people demonstrated and knocked down Yanukovic, putin became angry and annexed Crimea .He hated Porosenko because Porosenko want to follow EU and nato. Now Putin wants to invade and ccupy Donestk and Lugans to expad to confront Nato--- he is very selfish
5/. I suppose Putin did not annex Crimea, then, there will no war, chaos in Ukraine now .
6/ . America dropped atomic bombs down japan in 1945 but since then America never want to mention about atomic bomb any more. But Putin , he always said has atomic bombs he wants to do what he want, other countries must stay away .he always threantens other countries with nuclear bombs.If Putin uses nuclear bombs , he is a very cruel president in the history to massacre innocent people. And if he uses them , Nato, Us……wil retaliate, will react ….then russia will also be wiped out , so he makes another brutal sin : he leads his own people to the death is he right or wrong ?
Therefore, from above analysis, in my opinion, It’s time Nato and US to take strong stance with Russia. Cannot let Putin do what he wants. We all die one in life , but we cannot live and look selfish people do want they want. We must stand up to confront.

Nato should adopt new members as soon as possible to ensure peace around the world : they are Ukraine, Georgia , Japan, Australia, canada , South korea, India and Phillipines .
Van –VN

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
September 06, 2014 1:17 PM
The formation of 'Rapid Action Force' by the NATO and ours would've reactions in Moscow to take counter-measures. Let's see ahaed the Moscow steps?

by: Igor from: Russia
September 06, 2014 12:06 PM
New Nato force creation is another stupid move by Obama and his followers because Russia has never attaked or threatened any Nato member. Ukraine is not Nato member and Russia does not declare war on Ukraine. The returning of Crimea to Russia is logical and reflects the will of Crimea citizens. By that provocative move Nato has made its members much less secured Because Russia will surely take strong military actions in response such as deploying more troops and sophisticated weapons including multi nuclear war head missiles ready to turn you to dust.

by: Bruce from: Canada
September 06, 2014 7:13 AM
Well, NATO members have talked the talk but will they walk the walk?

by: Johnny Heyn from: Simferopol
September 06, 2014 4:23 AM
Obama doesn't differ in originality and mind. As well as all presidents of this strange country. Policy same. Aggression. Blood. Islam - the enemy. Russia - the enemy. China - the enemy. Everywhere blood and tears, death and terror. Obama this world evil. It is clear to all normal people. I think the world will be will unite against such policy. China, Russia, Latin America, the countries of Islam - everything will understand that it is possible to stop aggression of NATO through joint efforts. These countries need to be disconnected from resources, to declare sanctions. Only this way it is possible to put Obama and all others into place.
In Response

by: Raj from: Lanka
September 07, 2014 2:45 AM
Problem is guys like u new generation. The worst tyrants have come from the supposedly innocent countries u mention. Go back study history see why the lunatics came from places like Russia not America. America has saved the world many times. You have freedom to talk do much becoz America has given I this freedom. But it's your choice to believe your own lies. But please friend remove your jeans it's an American invention too hahahaha

by: Igor from: Russia
September 06, 2014 12:07 AM
New NATO Force to send a Signal to Russia that you are very weak and scared of Russia. So you have to gather enough force. It only shows your stupidity because Putin will not attack you if you do not massacre Russian speakling peole......So Russia will shake hands with China and many other new emerging economies to found a new GTO to counter NATO

by: Hardy Glennson
September 05, 2014 10:45 PM
It was clear Putin and the Russians were rigging Ukrainian elections. Of course Putin does so with and in Russia. That means Russia is anything but a democracy it is a fascist regime. Never respect Putin as anything else. That has been a grave error.

by: Not Again from: Canada
September 05, 2014 10:05 PM
From all the reports in the media, from Wales, it looks like Pres. Obama came away with a cart load of good news; maybe finally the Western leaders are starting to take notice that NATO needs to go back to being an effective alliance, not just a paper tiger. Let us hope it is not just rethoric, but they will share the defence load, and no longer expect to be carried by the US.
The critical test of this meeting's true results, will come to fruition, in my view, if the Western NATO leaders get on with modernizing their forces, especially Germany.
The best barometer will be the F-35 acquisition programs; if the NATO allies truly mean what they say, their F-35 fleet numbers, program partner nations, will go up at least 10% to 15% of their original numbers envisioned in their programs. A prompt and significant upgrade of their air force capabilities will set them well in the path of recovery and in the path of rapidly demonstrating true deterrent improvement for the NATO alliance.. will see.
Which brings me to the issue of the less wealthy nations in NATO, the F-16 being pull out, in the replacement by the F-35, should be going in a lease to the less wealthy nations with contracts for maintenance/upkeep by the US manufacturer, to ensure they remain fit/updated. These less wealthy countries have trainable and dedicated airman, that are in need of better equipment, some of them are making do with Mig 21s; to be able to contribute to NATO, the rich countries of Europe should help the poorer nations with the maintenance costs.....

by: Cazzy from: Nigeria
September 05, 2014 9:51 PM
Indeed, Russian excesses need to be checked and to be put on hold because the world needs peace now.
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