NATO allies are expected to describe Russia as “a direct threat to our security” and raise China as an issue for the first time in 10 years after invading Ukraine
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NATO is facing its biggest overhaul since the Cold War, when its boss issued a chilling warning that Russia posed a direct threat.
The NATO Response Force, or Rapid Reaction Force, will now sevenfold its 40,000 troops to more than 300,000.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the dramatic expansion of high-readiness forces will be “transformative” for NATO and “strengthen our forward defences”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be among leaders in Madrid this week to discuss key issues facing the alliance.
This includes China and the “challenges Beijing is posing to our security, interests and values.”
It comes amid a reported growing propensity for China to flex its geopolitical muscles and economic coercive power abroad.
However, Mr. Stoltenberg stated that NATO will make it clear that Russia is the “most significant and direct threat” to security.
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The organization will also change its language towards Russia, which was named a strategic partner in the alliance’s last strategy from 2010.
“That will not be the case in the strategic concept that we will agree on in Madrid,” added Stoltenberg.
“I expect allies to state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, our values and the rules-based international order.”
Both the G7 and NATO summits this week will address China’s challenges and focus on its relationship with Russia amid Moscow’s Ukraine war.
For the first time in ten years, the country is labeled as “dubious” in NATO’s new strategy concept.
But its members are now at odds over how to describe the country with the world’s largest military and its relationship with Russia.
Diplomats said the US and Britain had been pushing for more forceful language to reflect China’s rising military ambitions and growing concerns it could attack the democratically ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as its own territory.
Meanwhile, France and Germany prefer more measured references given the large European industrial investments in China.
A diplomat said a compromise was taking shape, under which China would be described as a “systemic challenge” while including balanced language that referred to a “readiness to cooperate on areas of common interest” with Beijing.
Mr Stoltenberg said the plan under discussion “represents the largest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the Cold War”.
The alliance will decide on a new “strategic concept for a new security reality”.
This would be “a fundamental shift in NATO deterrence and defense,” and leaders would “pledge support to Ukraine now and in the future,” he said.
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Outlining Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s continued support for Ukraine, he said “their courage and commitment are an inspiration” and welcomed the President’s participation in the summit.
Allies will agree on an enhanced comprehensive aid package for Ukraine, with supplies of secure communications, anti-drone systems and fuel.
NATO will also examine applications for membership from Sweden and Finland, requests made in response to the threat posed by Russia.
Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reservations about the plan, but is said to hold talks with the heads of state and government of the two countries in Madrid.
The NATO meeting takes place after the G7 summit in Germany, which was also shaped by the Ukraine talks.
A White House official on Sunday expressed confidence that the document would contain “strong” words on China, but said negotiations were continuing ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday and Thursday.
The strategy document, which will update US-led NATO’s goals and values, will also set out member states’ “awareness of the need for ‘resilience,'” the diplomat said.
Negotiators are also fine-tuning how to describe the China-Russia relationship, with the Czech Republic and Hungary firmly opposed to using the phrase “strategic convergence” to define it, one of the diplomats said.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/nato-chiefs-chilling-warning-russia-27337349 NATO chief's chilling warning Russia poses direct threat as forces increase sevenfold - World News