Wednesday 26 July 2017

Russian military doctrine 'does not reflect reality'

David Brunnstrom in Munich

NATO said yesterday that a new Russian military doctrine identifying Nato expansion as a threat did not reflect the real world and undermined efforts to improve ties between the western military alliance and Moscow.

Russia was angered by Nato expansion to include former Warsaw Pact states after the collapse of the USSR and was particularly incensed by Nato's promise of eventual membership to Georgia and Ukraine, former Soviet republics Moscow considers part of its sphere of influence.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev approved the new military doctrine on Friday.

"I have to say that this new doctrine does not reflect the real world. Nato is not an enemy of Russia," said Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "It does not reflect realities and is in clear contradiction of our endeavours to improve relationships."

The Russian doctrine identifies one of the "main external threats of war" as Nato expansion, and sees US plans to create an anti-missile shield in Europe as a major concern.

Mr Rasmussen said Nato was keen to develop a strategic partnership with Russia and to expand cooperation in Afghanistan, where the two sides share security concerns.

He said he would stress these issues in a meeting in Munich with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "I think Russia and we share the same interests in success in Afghanistan," he said.

Sunday Independent

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