Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Nato 'must change tune on Russia'

The findings emerged after David Cameron again refused completely to rule out joining an international air campaign against Islamic State

Nato must rethink its long-term relationship with Russia and take measures to ensure that its members can respond quickly to any threat from Moscow in the wake of its "illegal" actions in Ukraine, David Cameron has said.

Measures should include sustaining a "robust" defensive presence in eastern Europe, adopting a new schedule of military exercises, pre-positioning equipment and supplies in key locations and beefing up Nato's Response Force of swiftly deployable land, air, maritime and special operations troops, said the Prime Minister in a letter to his Nato counterparts and alliance secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The letter comes just days after a report from the House of Commons Defence Committee warned that the transatlantic military alliance was not adequately prepared for a threat from Russia.

Six weeks ahead of the Nato summit in south Wales, Mr Cameron said he wants to use the gathering to agree a new approach to Russia which will send a message to Vladimir Putin that Nato and its member-states – which include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will not be intimidated.

In his letter, Mr Cameron said that this September's gathering marks another "pivotal" moment.

He said: "We must... review our long-term relationship with Russia. While Nato has only ever sought to be a partner to Russia, not a threat, it is clear that Russia views Nato as an adversary."

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