Madrid [Spain], June 29 (ANI): The NATO leaders have termed Russia as "the most significant and direct threat" to the security of the alliance member states, said the final declaration released on Wednesday after the Madrid summit.
"The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies' security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. It seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and annexation," said the declaration which included NATO's formal invitation to Sweden and Finland.
At the same time, the alliance noted that it "does not seek confrontation and poses no threat" to Russia, but will further "respond to Russian threats and hostile actions in a united and responsible way," according to the document.
"In light of its hostile policies and actions, we cannot consider the Russian Federation to be our partner. However, we remain willing to keep open channels of communication with Moscow to manage and mitigate risks, prevent escalation and increase transparency. We seek stability and predictability in the Euro-Atlantic area and between NATO and the Russian Federation," the declaration read.
The leaders also approved a new strategic concept that would guide the alliance's work until 2030. "We have endorsed a new Strategic Concept. It describes the security environment facing the Alliance, reaffirms our values, and spells out NATO's key purpose and the greatest responsibility of ensuring our collective defence based on a 360-degree approach," a summit declaration read.
The concept also sets out the alliance's three core tasks, including deterrence and defense, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security, according to the declaration.
The members of the alliance said they consider Russia's "military build-up" in the Baltic, the Black and the Mediterranean Sea regions a challenge to its interests.
"Moscow's military build-up, including in the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Sea regions, along with its military integration with Belarus, challenge our security and interests," the declaration read.
NATO also said that it faces "systemic competition" from China that challenges the values and interests of the alliance. Moreover, NATO states pledged to deploy additional in-place combat-ready forces on the alliance's eastern flank.
"Allies have committed to deploy additional robust in-place combat-ready forces on our eastern flank, to be scaled up from the existing battlegroups to brigade-size units where and when required, underpinned by credible rapidly available reinforcements, prepositioned equipment, and enhanced command and control," a declaration read.
They also agreed to enhance their energy security and maintain reliable energy supplies to the alliance's military forces in the conditions of the current global energy crisis. "We are also strengthening our energy security. We will ensure reliable energy supplies to our military forces," a declaration read.
Furthermore, NATO states pledged to provide further defence and financial support to Ukraine to allegedly help the country defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The military alliance also acknowledged the challenge posed by China that may undermine the rules-based international order.
"We face systemic competition from those, including the People's Republic of China, who challenge our interests, security, and values and seek to undermine the rules-based international order. Instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration and human trafficking," the statement said. (ANI)