NATO chief: Russian action a 'wake-up call'

 

NATO’s secretary general says Russia’s recent aggression is a “wake-up call.” 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen will make the remark in a speech on Wednesday at liberal-learning think tank the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"This is a wake-up call,” Rasmussen is expected to say, according to an advance copy of the speech obtained by The Hill. The Associated Press also received a copy. 

Russia’s annexation on Tuesday of Crimea is a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Rasmussen will say. Russian Presidnet Vladimir Putin's military aggression, he adds, “is in blatant breach of its international commitments.” 

“This is the gravest threat to European security and stability since the end of the Cold War.”

He is expected to outline military measures NATO might need to provide its member states.

ADVERTISEMENT
Some of those possible measures include surveillance flights over Poland and Romania as well as additional airspace protection over Baltic states such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

NATO backs a diplomatic solution between Russia and Ukraine.

“There are no quick and easy ways to stand up to global bullies,” he will say. “The only way to address such challenges is for Europe and North America to stand together.”

As a first step, Rasmussen will say NATO has suspended a maritime escort mission for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. It would have been the first joint operation of the NATO-Russia Council.  

He has been in Washington since Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and preparations for NATO’s September summit in Wales.

On Tuesday evening, he attended a working dinner at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and White House national security adviser Susan Rice.

The comments from the NATO chief will come as Vice President Biden returns from a two-day trip to Eastern Europe to reassure NATO allies that the United States will protect their security.

Biden is expected to be back in Washington Wednesday night after visiting Poland and Lithuania.