NATO to Point More Guns at Russia (Video)  Ear to the Ground February 7, 2015

Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, outlines new plans for a network of command centres in eastern Europe to rapidly reinforce the region in the event of any threat from Russia. Speaking on Thursday after a meeting of Nato member defence ministers, Stoltenberg says the measures amounted to the biggest reinforcement of the alliance’s collective defense since the end of the Cold War.

The Guardian reports:

Announcing the new force in Brussels on Thursday, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said it was “the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the cold war.”

Some elements of the new force will be able to deploy to a flash point with 48-hours notice, Stoltenberg said, with the rest being able to move in a week, much faster than current Nato response times. It will be supported by air and sea forces as well as special operations units, and two more land brigades on standby in the event of a major crisis. Altogether, 30,000 Nato troops will be assigned to bolster the alliance’s eastern defences.

New Nato command posts will immediately be set up in six eastern members states – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria – who have been clamouring for a permanent alliance presence on their soil since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine. They will house about 40 to 60 officers [and] serve as command and control units, which would help coordinate any deployment of the spearhead force, as well as training.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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Angela Merkel: Bombs and Bullets Won’t Solve Ukraine Conflict (Video)

Posted on Feb 7, 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the crisis in the former Soviet republic will not be resolved by military means and that the peace agreement drafted in September needs to be put into effect.

Merkel, speaking at the Munich security conference Saturday, said she wanted peace in Europe with Russia.

The Guardian reports:

Germany has opposed aiding Ukrainian troops for fear of worsening the conflict, which has already cost more than 5,000 lives, but the idea has many supporters in Washington.

“I cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily,” Merkel said. “I have to put it that bluntly.”

Disagreement has emerged between Europe and the US about how best to confront Putin as Moscow-backed rebels make gains in eastern Ukraine. Barack Obama is under pressure from some in Congress to send weapons to Kiev.

Also in Munich, NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, confirmed his position that the West should consider giving weapons to the Ukrainian army.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

By Published On: February 9th, 2015Comments Off on ▶ Two on the Ukraine: Merkel and NATO’s Jen Stoltenberg

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