NATO Says Russia Is ‘Most Direct Threat,’ Offers Finland, Sweden Membership
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MADRID/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The world moved back to the Cold War on Wednesday, with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg saying Moscow’s war in Ukraine presents the “biggest challenge” in the alliance’s history.
NATO also invited Finland and Sweden to join the military bloc after member state Turkey lifted its objections. And, in its biggest military overhaul in decades, the alliance agreed to increase the number of soldiers in a high state of readiness from 40,000 to 300,000.
In addition, NATO agreed to deploy more heavy weaponry in the Baltic states and Poland, nations bordering Russia.
The announcement was made at a summit in Madrid which was attended by world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden.
As Finland and Sweden were formally invited, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy complained that NATO’s open-door policy to new members did not appear to apply to his war-torn country. “The open-door policy of NATO shouldn’t resemble the old turnstiles on Kyiv’s subway, which stay open but close when you approach them until you pay,” Zelenskyy said by video link. “Hasn’t Ukraine paid enough?”
He also asked for more modern artillery systems and other weapons and warned the leaders they had to provide Kyiv with the help it needed or “face a delayed war between Russia and yourself.”
“The question is, who’s next? Moldova? Or the Baltics? Or Poland? The answer is all of them,” he said.
Zelenskyy admitted that NATO membership is a distant prospect for his nation. Under NATO treaties, an attack on any of the 30 members would trigger a military response by the entire alliance.
Analysts say the alliance is trying to strike a delicate balance, letting its member states arm Ukraine without sparking a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.
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