Sunday 6 June 2021
Concern about destabilization
NATO warns Moscow and Minsk
With the recent events in Belarus, NATO fears for security on the eastern side of the defense alliance. A week before the NATO summit in Brussels, Secretary-General Stoltenberg confirmed that the situation was being closely monitored and that he was ready to act.
After a passenger plane from the European Union landed, forced by the Belarusian authorities, and the resulting tensions, NATO warned Russia and Belarus. “We are of course ready to protect and defend any allies in an emergency against any kind of threat from Minsk and Moscow,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of Welt am Sonntag. We are vigilant and closely following what is happening in Belarus.” Belarus has become “increasingly dependent” on Russia.
Stoltenberg said allies are very concerned about closer cooperation between Moscow and Minsk in recent months. “We have learned in the past that Russia has extensively violated the territorial integrity of countries such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.” The former Norwegian prime minister said he did not want to speculate too much, adding: “NATO is a defensive alliance.” The NATO countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, share a border with Belarus.
Belarus Governor Alexander Lukashenko stopped a Ryanair airliner two weeks ago in Minsk on its way from Athens to Vilnius. Then anti-government blogger Roman Protasewicz and his girlfriend Sofia Sabiga were arrested. Both are in custody. Then the European Union imposed sanctions to increase pressure on Lukashenko. On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin received the ruler – and helped him with a large loan. Putin stressed that he would continue to support Lukashenko in his confrontation with the West.
Stoltenberg told the newspaper that the situation in Belarus would also be a topic at the NATO summit in Brussels a week from now, which Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden will attend. The existing Partnership Agreement (PFP) with Belarus has recently been significantly curtailed and the review will continue. The alliance takes a two-pronged approach to Russia: deterrence and dialogue. “We stick to that.” Especially in difficult times, Stoltenberg said, NATO should continue talks “with our neighbor Russia” on arms control and other military and political challenges. “If we don’t talk to each other, we can’t settle our differences or improve mutual understanding.”