Exclusive: Jens Stoltenberg warns of converging threats as Russia mobilises estimated 100,000 troops on EUs borders
The world is more dangerous today than it has been in a generation, the head of Nato has said, days before the mobilisation of an estimated 100,000 Russian troops on the EUs eastern borders, and as a nuclear crisis grows on the Korean peninsula.
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the military alliance, said the sheer number of converging threats was making the world increasingly perilous.
Asked in a Guardian interview whether he had known a more dangerous time in his 30-year career, Stoltenberg said: It is more unpredictable, and its more difficult because we have so many challenges at the same time.
We have proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, we have terrorists, instability, and we have a more assertive Russia, Stoltenberg said during a break from visiting British troops stationed in Estonia. It is a more dangerous world.
From next Thursday, over six days, Russian and Belarusian troops will take part in what is likely to be Moscows largest military exercise since the cold war. An estimated 100,000 soldiers, security personnel and civilian officials, will be active around the Baltic Sea, western Russia, Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, without the supervision required under international agreement.
On the other side of the world, in the face of local protests, the South Korean government has deployed the controversial US Thaad missile defence system as it looked to counter potential future attacks from North Korea, which recently launched a ballistic missile over Japan, threatened the US Pacific territory of Guam and tested a possible thermonuclear device.
Donald Trump has threatened to unleash fire and fury on the North Koreans should further threats be made against the US, and kept up the threat on Thursday, saying he is building up US military power.
Its been tens of billions of dollars more in investment. And each day new equipment is delivered new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world, the best anywhere in the world, by far, Trump said. Hopefully were not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.
Trump has ruled out talks with Pyongyang for the time being and Washingtons diplomatic focus is now on efforts to secure agreement at the United Nations for much tighter economic measures, including an oil embargo and possibly a naval blockade.