NATO believes that Vladimir Putin could be preparing a false flag operation with chemical weapons in Ukraine as a “pretext” with the aim of justify the use of this type of biological arsenal by Russia in the war. The use of chemical weapons in Ukraine would mean a new violation of international law by Moscow that the Western allies consider “unacceptable”, the NATO secretary general warned on Tuesday. Jens Stoltenberg.
However, Stoltenberg has not wanted to clarify whether it is a “red line” that would force the Alliance to intervene in the war. In fact, the secretary general has made it clear again that NATO will only get involved in the conflict if Moscow directly attacks one of the 30 member states. “An attack on an ally will be met with a decisive response from the entire Alliance and we will protect every inch of allied territory,” she said.
“For months, we have exposed Russia’s long list of lies. They claimed they weren’t planning to invade Ukraine, but they did. They said they were withdrawing their troops, but they sent even more. They claim they are protecting civilians, but they are killing civilians. Now they are making absurd claims about biological labs and chemical weapons in Ukraine. This is another lie. And we are concerned that Moscow could organize a false flag operation, possibly including chemical weaponsStoltenberg said at a press conference.
The Secretary General of NATO has highlighted that the Kremlin has already used biological agents before, not only to attack and kill political opponents, but also to support Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. An action that violates the convention on chemical weapons that Moscow has signed.
Is the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine a red line that would force the Alliance to intervene? “If (the Russians) use chemical weapons, they will pay a high price. But I am not going to speculate on any military response from NATO.except to say that NATO’s primary responsibility is to ensure that we defend and protect all allies,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO has ruled out establishing a no-fly zone in Ukraine -as demanded by its president, Volodymyr Zelensky– on the grounds that this would lead to a direct conflict with Russia. A confrontation with Moscow that both Washington and Brussels say they do not want.
Communication channels with Moscow
The NATO Secretary General has also been asked about Moscow’s attack on a military base just 25 kilometers from the Polish border or about the drone that crashed on the outskirts of Zagreb (Croatia). “When we see fighting near NATO borders, there is always the risk of incidents and accidents and that is why we have to make efforts to prevent them and, if they do occur, ensure that do not get out of control and create dangerous situations“, I have answered.
In this sense, NATO maintains Open communication channels with the Russian Army to prevent this type of escalation, Stoltenberg maintains. In addition, the allies have considerably reinforced the protection of the eastern flank. “There are now hundreds of thousands of forces on high alert across the Alliance. 100,000 US troops in Europe. And around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, most of them in the Alliance East,” he said.
To this we must add that the United States is deploying Patriot batteries in Poland, and Germany and the Netherlands are doing the same in Slovakia.
But the Russian invasion of Ukraine forces completely rethink NATO’s long-term strategy. That is what the Alliance defense ministers will do at the extraordinary meeting they are holding this Wednesday in Brussels. The objective is to permanently strengthen the defensive position in the Eastern countries.
“On the ground, this could include substantially more forces in the eastern part of the Alliance, with greater readiness and with more prepositioned equipment. We will also consider major increases in our air and naval deploymentsstrengthening our integrated air and missile defense, strengthening our cyber defenses and conducting more joint exercises,” Stoltenberg said.
Defense ministers will task NATO military commanders with developing plans in this regard, which will be approved at the Madrid summit next June.
The secretary general of the Alliance has indicated that this defense reinforcement “will require large increases in investment”. Therefore, he has encouraged all member states to “spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defense.” “We must do more, so we must also invest more,” he insisted.