UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – The United States has asked its European allies to increase the number of NATO battalions, warships, and assault aircraft to enhance the North Atlantic Alliance’s deterrent power against Russia, according to official sources.
Concordant diplomatic sources and US officials told Reuters that on Thursday in Brussels, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis would try to reach an agreement with NATO defense ministers to mobilize more military forces and equipment to ward off the threat of Russia. James Mattis’ plan should be finalized at the July NATO summit.
Known as 30-30-30-30, the plan would require NATO to have 30 ground forces battalions, 30 fighter squadrons and 30 warships ready to deploy to the United States. 30 days after any announcement of the state of alert, says Reuters.
No negotiations have so far taken place on the number of military forces; no deadline has been set either for the implementation of this plan. But we know that US President Donald Trump has put pressure on European states to spend more to cover NATO’s military costs.
A senior NATO diplomat tried to justify these measures by saying: “We have an opponent, Russia, who is capable of attacking the Baltic countries and Poland as soon as possible.”
In addition, a US official said that this initiative aimed in principle to counter the threat of Russia, in the framework of the drafting of the Pentagon’s national defense strategy for the year 2018, “and this report accuses Moscow of seeking to undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” adds the US authority.
The Western camp is worried about an expansion of the Russian presence in the region, mainly because of last year’s Russian military exercises in which, according to the mainstream media, more than 100,000 soldiers participated.
The Kremlin, for its part, vehemently rejects allegations of alleged concern over Russia’s enhanced military presence at NATO’s borders. On the contrary, it is NATO that represents a security threat in Eastern Europe, say the Russians.
According to figures provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS, according to its acronym), NATO already has more than 20,000 troops, while Russia has only 830,000 active military.
The annexation of Crimea to Russia in March 2014 has fueled tensions between Moscow and the West. Western countries have used broad-based sanctions against Russia under this pretext, and Russian-US relations are at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War.