UK should "take the lead" on Russia at Nato summit - report

Nato summit logo 2014

Nato summit logo 2014

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THE UK Government should "take the lead" in ensuring September's Nato summit in Newport addresses threats from Russia, according to a report by a group of MPs.

The report by the House of Commons defence committee, published today (Thursday) says the Russian annexation of Crimea and the continuing violence in Ukraine "has been a stark reminder of Nato's responsibilities in Europe".

"There is no doubt that Eastern European nations feel that the threat is very real," says the report.

"The Nato summit in Newport in September must ensure that it addresses the threat from Russia and take the opportunity provided to reshape Nato.

"Our conclusion is that Nato is currently not well-prepared for a Russian threat against a Nato member state."

The report by the cross-party group, including one Welsh MP, focuses on two articles of the North Atlantic Treaty as well as the situation in Ukraine and the Baltic States, "rather than the more general debate about Russia and global security threats".

"We have chosen this focus because the Nato conference will be hosted by the UK in September; because this is of central concern to Eastern European Nato members; because the attack on Ukraine has raised the possibility - however unlikely - of an attack, conventional or unconventional, on a Nato member state in the Baltics, potentially requiring an Article 5 response."

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty states that an attack on one state is an attack on all.

"It concludes that Nato is poorly prepared for either scenario and suggests urgent steps that would need to be taken to meet these challenges."

The MPs said they have concerns about Nato's "deficiencies in its ability to respond to a conventional attack" including shortcomings in Nato's ability to foresee and give adequate warning of an attack; and questions about the public's readiness to honour the Article 5 commitment of retaliation.

"We are also concerned that events in Ukraine seem to have taken the UK Government by surprise," says the report.

"The Nato alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its member states for 20 years. It is now forced to do so as a result of Russia's recent actions.

"Events in Ukraine this year...are a wake-up call for Nato. They have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of Nato preparedness."

The group recommended that September's summit should set plans to ensure "dramatic" improvements to the existing Nato rapid reaction force; the pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States; a continuous if not technically permanent presence of Nato troops on training and exercise in the Baltic; the reestablishment of large-scale military exercises including representatives from all Nato member states; and consideration of the reestablishment of a Nato standing reserve force along the lines of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force-Land.

It also calls on the government to boost the number of defences attaches and ensure adequate representation in Poland.

The Argus has contacted the Ministry of Defence for a comment.

Comments (3)

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12:56pm Thu 31 Jul 14

KarloMarko says...

I'm already handing out white feathers outside the Job Centre. About time we tackled the Russian bear before his snow boots are at our dinner table and our wives and partners are perched drunkenly on his knee. I trust the heroic Cameron and Obama (and the Argus Dads Army) will lead from the front as we march on Moscow for another long winter campaign. Always turns out well. Put out more flags, summon up the Blitz spirit, God bless you Mam!
I'm already handing out white feathers outside the Job Centre. About time we tackled the Russian bear before his snow boots are at our dinner table and our wives and partners are perched drunkenly on his knee. I trust the heroic Cameron and Obama (and the Argus Dads Army) will lead from the front as we march on Moscow for another long winter campaign. Always turns out well. Put out more flags, summon up the Blitz spirit, God bless you Mam! KarloMarko
  • Score: -7

1:45pm Thu 31 Jul 14

sword of truth says...

Sure our brave NATO boys will sort out those heathen Ivans. Just in case, I'm knitting socks and balaclavas, to send, should they get encircled and annihilated at Putingrad in their race to grab the oil in the Caucasus.
Sure our brave NATO boys will sort out those heathen Ivans. Just in case, I'm knitting socks and balaclavas, to send, should they get encircled and annihilated at Putingrad in their race to grab the oil in the Caucasus. sword of truth
  • Score: -8

9:02pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

Why do we have to 'take the lead' on Russia as if it's some sort of boys' game? Perhaps our MPs would do well to think about sorting the problems of this country out first and knuckle down to solving serious issues such as high unemployment, inflation, the crises in social care and in the NHS.

Seems they don't want to do that though cos that's all boring stuff innit and it's much more thrilling boys' own fun bolstering one's inadequate sense of masculinity by pretending to be Churchill. I mean, we wouldn't hear a Scandinavian MPs proclaiming that their first and foremost task is to save the world, would we?

Fact is: Britain does not have an empire anymore. Let me say that again really slowly and very clearly to our fantasist political leaders BRITAIN.NO.LONGER.HA
S.AN.EMPIRE.ANYMORE, ergo Britain is no longer a superpower and 'major player on the world stage'.

Sorry chaps, but the USA took over the role of world gendarme post-1945. As it's now 2014, surely it's high time that we got the chance to elect balanced and reasonable people who have some realistic idea about getting their priorities right?
Why do we have to 'take the lead' on Russia as if it's some sort of boys' game? Perhaps our MPs would do well to think about sorting the problems of this country out first and knuckle down to solving serious issues such as high unemployment, inflation, the crises in social care and in the NHS. Seems they don't want to do that though cos that's all boring stuff innit and it's much more thrilling boys' own fun bolstering one's inadequate sense of masculinity by pretending to be Churchill. I mean, we wouldn't hear a Scandinavian MPs proclaiming that their first and foremost task is to save the world, would we? Fact is: Britain does not have an empire anymore. Let me say that again really slowly and very clearly to our fantasist political leaders BRITAIN.NO.LONGER.HA S.AN.EMPIRE.ANYMORE, ergo Britain is no longer a superpower and 'major player on the world stage'. Sorry chaps, but the USA took over the role of world gendarme post-1945. As it's now 2014, surely it's high time that we got the chance to elect balanced and reasonable people who have some realistic idea about getting their priorities right? Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 3

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