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“Russia the Biggest and Imminent Security Threat”, China Supports It. NATO Summit Declaration

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NATO allies will defend each other because they “cannot ignore the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of any of the members of the pact. Russia is “the greatest and direct threat” to the members of the alliance, China supports it, and Iran is also a challenge to Euro-Atlantic security – says the text of the NATO summit declaration in Washington. It emphasizes that NATO will strengthen its air and missile defense systems. At the same time, it was stated that NATO's eastern flank will be constantly strengthened, and thanks to the admission of Sweden and Finland to the alliance, the Baltic Sea has become safer.

NATO is “the strongest Alliance in history,” its members noted at the beginning. “We stand united and in solidarity against the brutal war and aggression on the European continent at a critical moment for our security,” they added. They then emphasized that “the transatlantic bond endures,” and NATO is a defensive alliance.

“Our commitment is to defend each other and every inch of the territory of the Alliance, always, as stated in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. (…) We are united by common values: individual freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” we read in the declaration.

The document then noted that admission to NATO Sweden and Finland made them, as well as the “High North and the Baltic Sea”, safer. At the same time, the alliance's “open door policy” is still in force – it added.

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“Russia remains the greatest and most immediate security threat”

“Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has destroyed peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and has seriously undermined global security. Russia remains the greatest and most immediate threat to Allied security. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is the greatest asymmetric threat to the security of our citizens, international peace and prosperity. The threats we face are global and interconnected,” the document states.

It was then added that safety issues NATO countries and their partners “are directly affected by instability in Africa and the Middle East.” From this perspective, forced displacement, irregular migration, and human trafficking have become problems.

It was stressed that “Iran's destabilizing actions have an impact on Euro-Atlantic security.”

“China's stated ambitions and policies of coercion continue to challenge our interests, security, and values,” the declaration reads. “The deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China, and their joint, repeated attempts to undermine and reshape the rules-based international order, are cause for great concern. We are confronted with hybrid, cyber, space, and other aggressive threats from states and beyond,” it reads.

“We cannot underestimate the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of allies”

Point 7 emphasises that steps have been taken to strengthen collective defence. “We cannot ignore the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of allies. We have strengthened our deterrence and defense posture to deny any potential adversary any possible opportunity for aggression” – noticed.

At the same time, it was emphasized that the Alliance continues to strengthen its capabilities to “deter and defend NATO against all threats and challenges, in all domains and in many strategic directions throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.” In this context, it was pointed out that, among other things, combat-ready forces have been deployed on NATO's eastern flank and the Alliance's ability to quickly reinforce any of its members that find themselves facing a threat has been increased.

“We have a new generation of NATO defence plans that make the Alliance stronger and more able to deter and, if necessary, defend against any potential adversary” – it was emphasized. The document also details several actions currently being taken. “We are providing the necessary forces, capabilities, resources and infrastructure for our new defence plans, which are to be prepared for high-intensity and multi-domain collective defence. In this regard, we will build on the progress made to ensure that increased defence spending by (individual – ed.) countries and joint NATO funding are commensurate with the challenges of a more contested security order,” it reads. “We are conducting more frequent training and large-scale exercises as part of our plans to demonstrate our ability to defend and rapidly support any Ally under threat, including through Steadfast Defender 24,” it added. In the following sub-items of the declaration, it was emphasized, among other things, that the Alliance is working on strengthening NATO command and assigning “key leadership roles to headquarters provided at the national level.” It also said that “we are strengthening our ability to move, support, supply and sustain our forces to respond to threats across the Alliance, including through effective and resilient logistics and the development of mobility corridors.”

“We are training, coaching and integrating NATO's Forward Presence Land Forces into new plans, including by further strengthening our forward defences on NATO's eastern flank” – we read further. “We are taking full advantage of the accession of Finland and Sweden (to NATO – ed.) and the opportunities they bring to the Alliance, fully integrating them into our plans, forces and command structures, including through the development of NATO's presence in Finland” – the next provisions of the document state. It is also emphasized that the Alliance is also focusing on strengthening the potential of NATO's Space Operations Center. It is further stated that “we are creating an Integrated NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center” and “strengthening the protection of critical undersea infrastructure (CUI)”. “We are investing in our chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense capabilities necessary to operate effectively in any environment” – the next subsection states.

Strengthening air and missile defense

NATO members stressed that they were “determined to deter and defend against all air and missile threats by strengthening their integrated air and missile defence system (IAMD), based on the 360-degree principle”, i.e. the ability to operate in all directions.

“We have updated NATO's IAMD policy and will continue to enhance our readiness, responsiveness and integration through various initiatives, such as implementing a rotational IAMD model across the Euro-Atlantic area, initially focusing on the Eastern Flank,” the document reads.

The declaration announced “Enhanced NATO Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Operational Capability”. “The launch of the Aegis Ashore facility in Redzikowo, Poland, complements existing assets in Romania, Spain, and Turkey. Allies remain committed to the full development of NATO BMD, to the implementation of the collective defense of the Alliance, and to ensuring the full protection of all residents, territory, and forces of European NATO members from the growing threat posed by ballistic missile proliferation. Missile defense can complement, but cannot replace, the role of nuclear weapons in deterrence,” the final communique reads.

“The purpose of NATO's nuclear capabilities is to maintain peace”

The declaration emphasized that “nuclear deterrence is the cornerstone of Alliance security”. It was noted that “the primary purpose of NATO's nuclear capabilities is to maintain peace” as well as “to deter aggression”. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance”, the Alliance members stated in the declaration. They also emphasized their commitment “to all decisions, principles and commitments relating to NATO's nuclear deterrence, arms control policy and non-proliferation and disarmament objectives set out in the 2022 NATO Strategic Concept and the 2023 NATO Vilnius Communiqué”.

Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation have made, and should continue to make, important contributions to achieving the Alliance's security objectives and to ensuring strategic stability and our collective security.

NATO remains committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure the credibility, effectiveness, safety and security of the Alliance's nuclear deterrence mission, including by modernizing its nuclear posture and strengthening its nuclear planning capabilities.

NATO's deterrence and defence posture is based on an appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defence capabilities, complemented by space and cyber capabilities.

NATO members have pledged to “use military and non-military tools in a proportionate, coherent and integrated manner to deter any threats to our security and to respond in the manner and at the time” they deem appropriate.

Author:acre, momo, adso

Main image source: TING SHEN/EPA/PAP

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