At a joint press conference in Madrid, Spain’s Margarita Robles said the expansion of Russian state operations and Russian private security companies such as the Wagner Group into countries like Mali and Libya was “very clear” and accused them of fomenting organized crime and terrorism.
“NATO cannot remain indifferent to this situation,” she added.
Britain’s Ben Wallace, in Madrid for a bilateral meeting before Spain hosts a crucial NATO summit in late June, said growing instability linked to hunger in Africa could have a significant impact on Europe .
“If (Russia) can use migrant flows as a weapon at one end of Europe, it can certainly use it at the other,” he said.
He was referring to allegations by Western governments that during last year’s European Union border crisis, Russia supported its ally Belarus in encouraging thousands of migrants fleeing war in other countries. parts of the world cross into Poland in retaliation for EU sanctions.
Wallace echoed Robles’ call for NATO to include the defense of its southern flank in its new Strategic Concept, its core military doctrine to be drafted at the Madrid summit .
“NATO’s strategic concept must involve the whole of NATO, the whole territory it covers through its partnership,” he said.
“The Russian weapon is already exhausted, broken, we see it coming out of retirement equipment. The Russian navy will be more of a threat, Vladimir Putin will use his navy to intimidate his enemies and that means he will be in other parts , including the southern flank,” he added.