Conflict & Tensions

Stoltenberg urges NATO to stand firm

NATO states showing some reluctance to continue backing Ukraine’s battle against Russia are being urged by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to stand firm. “This is also about our security interests,” he pointed out during a meeting of alliance foreign November 29. [node:read-more:link]

Boosting howitzer ammo for Ukraine

A year into efforts to boost production of 155mm artillery rounds for Ukraine, the U.S. and EU states are seeing radically different results. U.S. output has increased faster than forecast while European output has been slowed by the consensus-focused nature of NATO and the EU. [node:read-more:link]

Poland charges 16 foreigners

Sixteen foreign nationals were charged today in Poland with sabotage and propaganda activities “on behalf of Russian intelligence.” The office of Intelligence Service Coordinator Mariusz Kaminski said the accused, arrested when the NATO state shut down a spy ring earlier this year, all have confessed. [node:read-more:link]

More peacekeepers for Balkans?

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is considering an increase in the number of troops it deploys to the Western Balkans to keep tensions under control. Hundreds of British and Romanian troops were deployed after a recent dispute in Kosovo,which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a guerrilla uprising and a 1999 NATO intervention that included some 1,300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel. [node:read-more:link]

Latvia brigade tanks arrive

Canada has completed delivery of 15 Leopard 2A4M tanks to Latvia as part of a proposed a combat-ready NATO brigade in Eastern Europe. DND said they are accompanied by some support equipment and personnel but the rest of the full complement of 130 are not expected until the spring. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine running short of fires

Ukrainian forces have been burning through 240,000 rounds of 155mm howitzer rounds a month but security of supply now is an issue as the U.S. has begun sending Israel stocks originally meant. The number of rounds being sent to Israel is reportedly close to U.S. monthly production capacity and EU states have emptied their bunkers. [node:read-more:link]

NATO pushes Ukraine support

Amid uncertainty about the durability of support for Ukraine with Russia’s invasion now in its 21st month, the NATO Military Committee met last week with the NATO-Ukraine Council. “Supporting Ukraine is in our own security interest, because the world would be a more dangerous place if President Putin gets what he wants,” said Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer. “NATO must remain committed to providing support, so that Ukraine can prevail as a sovereign nation.” [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy says “little time left”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for rapid changes in how his military operates. “Priorities were set,” Mr. Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “There is little time left to wait for results,” he said November 19 after meeting with Defence Minister Rustem Umerov. “There is little time left to wait for results; quick action is needed for forthcoming changes.” [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau snatches chat with Xi

When alphabetical order by country found Prime Minister Trudeau beside his Chinese counterpart beside each other for a photo-shoot at the end of last week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Trudeau took the opportunity to tell Xi Jinping their countries need to maintain contact. “He acknowledged what I said,” was the PM’s assessment of the encounter. [node:read-more:link]

PM speaks with Israeli minister

In an apparent bid to relieve tension with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Trudeau told Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz that Canada supports Israel “and its right to defend itself in accordance with international law.” He also emphasized in his November 15 conversation with the retired army general “the importance of taking all possible measures to protect civilians and to minimize casualties” in the war against Hamas extremists in Gaza. [node:read-more:link]

European industries push back

Complaints by EU officials earlier this week that their industries had fallen short on munitions for Ukraine have been rebuffed by the Aerospace, Security & Defence Industries Association of Europe. “The double challenge for industry today – after decades-long underinvestment and the subsequent reduction of manufacturing capacities – is to ramp up production both to support Ukraine and to replenish and reinforce the stocks of armed forces in Europe (ammunition is only one element),” it said. “It is a complex process that requires meticulous long-term planning.” [node:read-more:link]

Dutch treat for Ukraine

The Netherlands’ defence ministry announced today that it will make €2 billion available for military aid to Ukraine in 2024 to bolster its air defences and address its needs for ammunition and maintenance of materiel it has already delivered. “We are determined to continue our support for Ukraine, now and in the future,” said Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren. Earlier this week, his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, confirmed plans to boost support for Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Romania inaugurates F-16 hub

An F-16 training hub using Dutch aircraft and Lockheed Martin instructors and maintainers is operational at Fetesti in southeastern Romania for pilots from allied countries and other partners, including Ukraine. Romania’s defence ministry says interoperability will better position NATO “to face the complex challenges” in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. [node:read-more:link]

Russian military budget increased

A roughly 25% increase in the Russian budget for the next three years, approved by its lower parliamentary body, includes record outlays for defence spending in 2024. “We have managed to adopt a budget that will not only allocate the necessary funds for our country's defence but which will also provide all the required funds to guarantee the state's social obligations,” Alexander Zhukof, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, said November 15. [node:read-more:link]

UNSC weighs in on Gaza

The UN Security Council adopted its first resolution November 16 since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza to address the escalating crisis for Palestinians. Israel immediately rejected the resolution which had 12-0 support on the UNSC with the U.S., Britain and Russia abstaining. [node:read-more:link]


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