Russia has found ways to slow NATO military responses while simultaneously quickening its own ability to mobilize, the commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa said, and NATO needs to find ways to adapt.
Adm. Mark Ferguson, who also commands the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, said at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday that Russia has not only expanded its presence – in the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and now in the Mediterranean Sea – but has deployed more sophisticated weaponry and has introduced an element of hybrid warfare that keeps NATO unsure of how to respond.
“The language coming from the Russian military reflects the mindset and actions characteristic of direct challenge and confrontation with NATO. What makes this approach troubling is hybrid warfare coupled with the ever-present threat of the full application of robust conventional and nuclear forces,” Ferguson said.
“Russia has also introduced new capabilities, such as newer and more stealthy nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile defense submarines. They are also expanding the reach of their conventional submarines with advanced cruise missiles. Just last month the first Caliber [cruise missile]-equipped Kilo-class submarine transited from the North Sea to the Black Sea, the first of six, bringing within its range the eastern half of Europe.”
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