NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (above on left) welcomed new Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas in his first visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels and stressed the firm commitment of the alliance to collective defense.
“As we face the most serious security crisis in a generation, we are determined to keep NATO robust, ready and agile. Estonia, like every NATO member, can count on allied solidarity at all times and against any threat,” the secretary-general said.
In response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea, NATO has more than doubled the number of fighter aircraft in the alliance’s air-policing mission in the Baltic states, Fogh Rasmussen said. “And we will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,” he added.
Responding to journalists’ questions on claims by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that NATO was not respecting its agreements with Russia, Fogh Rasmussen said, “No, of course we haven’t violated the Rome Declaration and I’m actually surprised that Russia can claim that NATO has violated its commitments, because Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made. … Russia has undermined all the principles of our relationship and therefore there can no longer be business as usual. And to make it clear, NATO’s core task is to defend our allies and this is what we are doing.”