UK & World News

  • 31 July 2014, 9:25

Nato 'Unprepared' For Possible Russia Attack

Nato is badly prepared for a potential attack by Russia on a member state, a parliamentary report has warned.

An influential group of MPssays that the recent conflict in Ukraine has revealed "serious deficiencies" in Nato's preparedness to counter threats.

The report - by the Commons Defence Committee - suggests a "radical reform" is needed.

It suggests that the risk of a conventional military assault by Russia on a Nato member state remains "low".

But the report says the risk of an unconventional attack using the kind of "ambiguous warfare" tactics deployed by President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine is "more substantial".

The 28-nation alliance should urgently undertake a "radical reform" to prepare for either eventuality, said the report.

This would include establishing a continuous presence of Nato troops in its "vulnerable" Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It would mean pre-positioning military equipment in the three former Soviet states, said the cross-party panel of MPs.

"Dramatic" improvements should also be made to existing rapid reaction forces and large-scale military exercisesshould be conducted.

And the MPs said that Nato should reconsider its Article 5 commitment for all members to come to the aid of any member which is attacked.

They said Article 5 needed refining to make clear that this includes countering unconventional threats such as cyber-attacks and irregular militia.

The committee also called on the UK Government - which hosts a Nato summit in south Wales in September - to show leadership.

The UK was urged to invest in analysis and expertise on Russia, which has become "seriously degraded" over recent years.

The MPs urged David Cameron and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to open the summit by declaring a commitment on defence spending.

They want the UK to maintain spending at or above the 2% of GDP target set by Nato for its member states.

"Nato is currently not well-prepared for a Russian threat against a Nato member state," said the report.

"A Russian unconventional attack, using asymmetric tactics - the latest term for this is 'ambiguous warfare' - designed to slip below Nato's response threshold, would be particularly difficult to counter.

"And the challenges, which Nato faces in deterring, or mounting an adequate response to, such an attack poses a fundamental risk to Nato's credibility."

Committee chair Rory Stewart said: "The risk of attack by Russia on a Nato member state, whilst still small, is significant. We are not convinced that Nato is ready for this threat."

Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said: "We have not seen the report by the UK Defence Select Committee but we'll study it carefully once it's published."

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