France calls Russia a partner, not a threat.
President Barack Obama wants NATO to “stand firm” against Russia until the Kremlin has fully complied with ceasefire agreements in east Ukraine.
He also promised 1,000 troops to Poland for extra security:
“In Warsaw, we must reaffirm our determination — our duty under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty — to defend every NATO ally,” Obama said.
“We need to bolster the defense of our allies in central and eastern Europe, strengthen deterrence and boost our resilience against new threats, including cyber attacks.”
In a Financial Times column, Obama urged NATO allies to defend each other when needed:
In Warsaw, we must reaffirm our determination — our duty under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty — to defend every Nato ally. We need to bolster the defence of our allies in central and eastern Europe, strengthen deterrence and boost our resilience against new threats, including cyber attacks. We need to deepen security co-operation between Nato and the EU and increase our support for Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity. And even as our nations remain open to a more constructive relationship with Russia, we should agree that sanctions on Russia must remain in place until Moscow fully implements its obligations under the Minsk agreements.
French President Francois Hollande told the organization they should consider Russia a partner, not a threat:
“NATO has no role at all to be saying what Europe’s relations with Russia should be. For France, Russia is not an adversary, not a threat,” Hollande said as he arrived for a landmark alliance summit in Warsaw.
“Russia is a partner which, it is true, may sometimes, and we have seen that in Ukraine, use force which we have condemned when it annexed Crimea,” he added.
Hollande said this in front of countries that Russia has threatened since they invaded east Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland have all asked NATO for a permanent presence due to Russia’s threats. He promised “France will do what it has to do but no more.”
However, the US, Britain, Canada, and Germany have taken charge of battalions, not France. Obama promised the 1,000 troops to Poland while Britain took one in Estonia and Germany in Lithuania.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country will provide “450 soldiers and armoured vehicles to Latvia,” which grows “the force in Latvia to around 1,000 troops.” He will also send six CF-18s to help patrol the air, which Russia has violated numerous times since 2014.
NATO even invited Sweden and Finland, non-NATO members, to the top table at the summit. Both countries have expressed intentions of joining NATO due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and incidents involving Russian submarines in the Baltic Sea near their coasts:
“They cannot be part of decision-making but they are definitely part of decision-shaping. The fact that the leaders will discuss Russia at the summit dinner, and that Sweden and Finland take part, sends a message,” said a NATO official.
Finland and Sweden cannot be part of the alliance’s contingency planning. Some in NATO want to see Helsinki and Stockholm firmly in.
“It is an issue in case of a conflict in the Baltic Sea region. We would need to work with Sweden and Finland, especially to use their airspace,” said a NATO diplomat.
“We can talk now and imagine how that would work. But eventually it would be their political decision, we have no guarantees.”
Sweden remains hesitant, though, because of possible backlash from the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials have threatened the two countries if they grew closer to NATO. Putin even said he would move troops to Finland’s border if they joined NATO.DONATE
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