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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine can only submit an application for joining NATO after it conducts all the necessary reforms.

    Combating Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’ Top Priority - NATO Secretary General

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    NATO must figure out how to defend against hybrid threats, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Combating Russia’s hybrid warfare is among the top priorities that NATO will focus on as allies prepare for the 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

    Screenshot from a video of Edward Lucas giving a speech in January on EU-Russian relations
    Institute of International & European Affairs
    The Secretary General singled out Russia as a nation that has used “proxy soldiers, unmarked special forces, intimidation and propaganda” in order to create a “thick fog of confusion” and “attempt deniability” in conflicts.

    The Secretary General warned that hybrid warfare was something that “is right at our borders.” Because of the threat, he explained, NATO must figure out how to prepare for, deter, and defend against hybrid threats.

    In the event of a hybrid attack against a member state, the NATO Response Force provides the Alliance with “a range of options, from large scale military actions to low visibility Special Forces,” Stoltenberg stated.

    “We must be able to see and analyze correctly what is happening… and quickly identify who is behind them and why,” Stoltenberg said of the importance of NATO improving its analysis, intelligence and situational awareness.

    Within the scope of hybrid warfare, cyber aggression has become a central part of virtually all crises and conflicts, the Secretary General asserted. He repeated NATO’s position that a cyberattack against an ally “can potentially trigger an Article 5 response,” meaning the entire Alliance would respond to such an attack.

    The alliance has boosted its military presence and increased military exercises near Russia’s border, particularly in the Baltic States and Poland.

    Under the 2014 Readiness Action Plan, the Alliance will establish a consistent command and control presence on the territory of its Eastern Allies as well as a rotational presence, according to NATO statements.

    Moscow has repeatedly raised concerns over NATO’s increased military presence along Russia’s western borders, saying it could disrupt strategic balance in the region.


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