Press Digest: NATO beefs up EU presence; says Russia is wrong on Syria

Danish soldiers take part in a live fire exercise in a tactical environment ahead of the "Silver Arrow" drill in Adazi training field, Latvia, Sept. 5, 2015. Source: Reuters

Danish soldiers take part in a live fire exercise in a tactical environment ahead of the "Silver Arrow" drill in Adazi training field, Latvia, Sept. 5, 2015. Source: Reuters

Reuters
RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring reports on NATO plans to boost its presence in Central and Eastern Europe and criticism by the alliance of Russia’s actions in Syria, the possibility of Ukraine receiving lethal arms supplies from the U.S., and a diplomatic scandal between Russia and Moldova over access for journalists.

NATO approves new command centers in EU; criticizes Russian actions in Syria

The business daily Kommersant reports that on Oct. 8 NATO defense ministers met in Brussels and approved the establishment of new NATO command centers in Hungary and Slovakia, with the aim of providing more prompt and effective response to potential "Russian threats."

Meanwhile, the UK will send about 100 servicemen to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and another 25 to Ukraine to train local security forces.

The ministers also agreed that Russia's airstrikes in Syria are making the situation in the region only worse.

"We would like to see Russia as part of the coalition in the future. But on one condition: We need to have common goals. For now Russia's aim is to have [Syrian leader] Bashar Assad remain in power. For us it is not important who is the head of the government – this is something the Syrians themselves must decide. But it can't be Assad," said a member of the American delegation.

"Russia's actions will have serious consequences for Russia itself. In the upcoming days Russia may suffer losses in Syria," said Pentagon chief Ashton Carter.

Nevertheless, the source in the American delegation made it clear that even in such conditions it is essential to maintain contacts: By flying with their transponders turned off, Russian airplanes are creating dangerous situations that can lead to tragedies. He underlined that the two countries' military are in constant contact, which Carter promised to maintain.

 

Ukraine awaits supplies of lethal weapons from U.S. 

The centrist newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that Kiev is hoping the United States will decide to supply the Ukrainian army with lethal weapons.

On Oct. 7 U.S. Congress confirmed the military budget. The document mentions the Pentagon's chief's right, in coordination with the U.S. Secretary of State, to use $300 million to give Ukraine "proper aid in the security and reconnaissance spheres." Now everything depends on whether or not U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the document.

"We're speaking about the weapons that can be used in the event Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues," explained Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Valery Chaliy.

Sources in Ukraine's military circles believe that sooner or later the issue of the supplies will be resolved in Ukraine's favor. In unofficial discussions they say that the withdrawal of tanks and artillery from the demarcation line in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine is still not the end of the war between government forces and Russian-backed rebels.

In an interview with the Ukrainian publication Zbruch, Alexei Melnik, co-director of the foreign policy and international security program at the Razumkova Center, said that it will be impossible to regulate the situation in the Donbass without implementing three conditions: "the withdrawal of foreign troops, disarming military formations and having Ukraine establish control of the border with Russia." All other agreements, including quarrels about election dates, is just maneuvering, according to Melnik.

 

Diplomatic scandal after Russian journalists banned from entering Moldova

The Vzglyad online newspaper reports that after journalists from the Rossiya-24 TV channel were denied entry into the country to report on a soccer match the Moldovan plenipotentiary in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. In the last six months Chisinau has not allowed TV crews from Rossiya-24, NTV, TV-Center, LifeNews and Zvezda to enter the country.

"We are getting the impression that someone does not want an objective report on the wave of people's protests," said ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

At the beginning of October, Marius Lazurke, Romania’s ambassador in Chisinau, stated that it is necessary to limit the influence of the Russian mass media and ban "non-European shows" in Moldova.

Konstantin Simonov, political analyst and director of the Applied Political Sciences Faculty at the Russian Governmental Financial University, said that it is "frightening to hear comments on mass media reports posing a security threat from countries wishing to enter the EU, since Europe supports its values of open space, dialogue and it is quite ridiculous not to allow journalists to come to a soccer match."

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