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NATO returns to the containment strategy of the cold war

Defence Ministers of NATO countries yesterday decided to accelerate the implementation of running in 2014 «defense and deterrence in the twenty-first century». The main object of this «containment» will be Russia. The first results of the programme should appear for the July summit in Warsaw. NATO is in fact returned to the mechanism of confrontation between military blocs: some empty since that period, the warehouses will be re-filled with weapons, on the Eastern flank will place eight small staffs, the presence of U.S. troops in Europe will be more visible. However, in the NATO-led informally explain the new strategy first and foremost by a desire to exert pressure on Russia to change its policy, eliminating the possibility of large-scale confrontation. The details of the Brussels correspondent of «Kommersant» MIKHAIL KOROTKOV.

The main topics opened yesterday a two-day meeting of NATO defence Ministers were «threats from the East and South.» The first point is the most relevant for Eastern European members of the Alliance who continue to fear the «Russian aggression». The second is for Western and southern European countries, whose boundaries are attacking hundreds of thousands of refugees (the topic in Brussels will be discussing today). While all were unanimous in the view that even a significant military budget of the countries—members of the Alliance, amounting to $892 billion, does not allow them to «buy» security.

Thus was born the idea need not just new investments, but «new approaches» to the issues facing the Alliance threats. However, as shown by the first day of discussions, new is well forgotten old. The «Russian challenge», NATO decided to respond by strengthening its Eastern flank. In this case the leading role in the implementation of the new plan is owned by the U.S., which provides about 70% of the budget of the Alliance.

About the specific intentions of Washington told the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute. According to him, $3.4 billion should be allocated by the Congress in 2016 measures «affirmation of commitments» of Washington in the security sphere in front of its European allies.

According to «Kommersant», in Europe on a rotating basis five thousands of additional U.S. troops is expected to allocate $1 billion with Another $1.9 billion will be spent on placement in Europe of new American weapons, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, barreled and jet artillery and small arms. For these purposes it is planned to use some warehouses, vacant since the cold war. This weapon will be enough to equip one armored and one artillery brigade (approximately on 5 thousand persons each) and equipment of the division headquarters (population division of the US — up to 20 thousand people). Another $163 million will go to enhanced exercises. «It’s back to the roots, that’s why NATO was created,» declared Douglas Leigh.

As explained «Kommersant» NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, USA remains the only country identified with the size of its contribution to strengthening the security of the Alliance. Other NATO members to do so not in a hurry. «Reached a principled decision that this is necessary, but the details are still to discuss early»— evasively said the NATO Secretary General.

According to him, one of the main achievements of the year 2015 is that the Alliance has finally abandoned the policy of reducing military budgets. «It’s too early to say that all countries follow the previously reached agreements to spend on military needs 2% of its GDP. But it looks like», he added. In conversation with «Kommersant» a senior NATO official remarked that doubted the necessity of military spending managed to convince, referring to Russia’s actions. «The main reason for the growth in military spending in Europe is, of course, politics of Russia and only then can the threat of terrorism,» he said.

Douglas Lute said that new weapons will be for logistical reasons mostly hosted in the West Europe. According to him, transportation and storage network in this part of the region allows you to quickly transfer troops to any point, not just to the East. «This situation is different from cold war when we had in Europe a huge army,— said the representative of the United States.— Now we are going to keep there weapons, but the troops will be overseas. If necessary they will be transported to Europe equipped and prepared weapons.»

These measures will complement adopted at the summit in Wales in September 2014, the Alliance plans to increase sea and air patrols of the Eastern borders and increase the number of exercises. According to Jens Stoltenberg, in 2016 also fully operational with eight small NATO headquarters (headcount — up to 40 people in each) located in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and designed to ensure the logistics and coordination of the Alliance in crisis situations.

Moscow’s reaction to the news from Brussels was swift and predictably harsh. «The build-up of forces deterrence becomes of such a nature that NATO came close to violating one of the basic provisions of the Founding act on relations between Russia-NATO from 1997. Namely, the obligation not to place on the territory of new Alliance members substantial combat forces,» said yesterday the Director of Department for non-proliferation and arms control, the Russian foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov.

Douglas Lew disagreed. «First of all, according to the Founding act of the Russia—NATO, the improvement of infrastructure on the border of acceptable, unacceptable, only a significant increase in troops. Troops will remain in the U.S., will be thrown only weapons,— explained «Kommersant» Douglas Leigh.— Secondly, most of the weapons will be placed in Eastern and Western Europe. Thirdly, NATO in recent years were not invaded. We just have to continue to do what we been doing for the last 60 years: the protection of our members.»

Commenting on the disagreements between Russia and NATO, Director of the Center for analysis of strategies and technologies Ruslan Pukhov has urged not to dramatize the situation. According to him, the new plans of the Alliance are still a threat to Moscow. «This is more demonstrative step by the U.S., designed to show European allies that they are not forgotten,» said he, «Kommersant».

In an interview with «Kommersant» one of the NATO officials confirmed that an American initiative has a political component: to strengthen the position in future negotiations with Russia on security in Europe. «Russia will certainly insist on more transparent operations on the Eastern flank of NATO,— said the representative of the block.— And then we will be able to raise another question about the transparency of its actions, about Ukraine and concerns of our Eastern members.»