Russia may try to extend its “hybrid war” to the territory of NATO member states.
The Alliance prepares for this scenario, a representatives of the NATO headquarters said on conditions of anonymity before the summit in Wales, a journalist of Evropeiska Pravda reports.
The NATO summit began in Newport, Wales, on Thursday. Russia's aggression against Ukraine is among the key issues of the meeting.
The NATO treaty provides for mechanisms of collective defence from an external enemy. In particular, article 5 of the treaty says an attack on one member state is regarded as an attack on all alliance members.
Russia uses the 'hybrid war' tactics in Ukraine denying the presence of its troops and carrying out both military operations and information war, a NATO representative said. NATO should be prepared for it. It plans to lower the level of the application of article 5 to be able to use it if Putin tries to “protect the rights of [ethnic] minorities [in NATO member states], he added.
According to the official, several members of the Alliance fear the Kremlin may choose this way.
The Alliance's representative called not to forget about about 30% of Russians in Estonia and Latvia. The Baltic States as well as Poland really worry, he noted.
Other sources say the changes are possible, but later. The organisation does not have a consensus now on new collective defence in case of a “hybrid war”.
NATO's article 5 even now allows broad interpretations if an indirect attack is recognised by the Alliance's key members. In particular, after Al Qaeda's attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, Washington said it considered it to be a war and declared that article 5 would be used.