Stoltenberg called the Russian challenge to NATO, along with terrorism

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the two main challenges for the Alliance of terrorism and Russia. He told about it in a column written for The Wall Street Journal.

According to Stoltenberg, Russia “illegally seized the Crimea” than undermined European security system. He also accused Moscow of continuing to support the militias in the East of Ukraine, as well as regular provocations against partners and members of NATO, citing the example of the flights of Russian aircraft near the U.S. ships in the Baltic sea.

In response to these actions of Russia, NATO has taken the most extensive measures to strengthen its collective defense since the cold war, wrote Stoltenberg. He noted that the defence budgets of European NATO members and Canada increased in 2015 after several years of decline, and grow again this year.

Stoltenberg recalled that last week at the NATO summit agreed on the deployment of the Alliance in the Eastern countries. Under this arrangement, the multinational battalions would be deployed in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. These units would lead the military of the United States, Germany, Canada and the UK.

NATO will also increase its presence in southeastern Europe, placing multinational brigade in Romania, said Stoltenberg. He stressed that there can be no doubt that if one member of Alliance attacked, then it will be considered an attack on the entire Alliance.

NATO Secretary General added that the cold war must remain a story, and the Alliance wants a meaningful and constructive dialogue with Russia, as exemplified by last week’s meeting of the NATO Council–Russia.

Moscow insists on the legality of the annexation of Crimea to Russia, as it was voted the majority of its inhabitants in a referendum. Moscow has also repeatedly denied military support to militias in the East of Ukraine, claiming that providing solely humanitarian assistance.