Talks between NATO and Russia over Ukraine hit a breaking point as Poland warns of possible war.
Sources: Al Jazeera
Sources: Al Jazeera
Russia demands that NATO end all military activity in Eastern Europe and never admit Ukraine as a member of the military alliance, saying that they want a legally binding guarantee to end further eastward expansion. Other demands include a Russian veto on Ukrainian membership in NATO, the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe, and the withdrawal of multinational NATO battalions from Poland and the Baltics.
Poland's Ministry of National Defence tweets that General Commander Jarosław Mika has tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Germany, and becomes NATO's highest-ranking member of armed forces infected.
3,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Poland as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve. Poland says that the deployment is a necessary response to Russian military exercises near its border and its intervention in Ukraine while Russia condemns the move as a "threat to national interests and security".
Russia deploys its S-400 missile system in Kaliningrad, an exclave between Poland and Lithuania, in response to "NATO expansion" near its borders. The United States criticizes the move as "destabilizing" to Europe. Russia announced the planned deployment over a decade ago.
NATO members gather in Warsaw, Poland, for a two-day summit. Much of the focus will be on Russia and NATO's commitments in bolstering its presence in Eastern Europe. Other issues to be discussed will include Europe's migrant crises, ISIL extremists, and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.
The leader of Poland's Democracy Defence Committee, Mateusz Kijowski, says the government has "broken the country" after Polish President, Andrzej Duda, enacted a measure curbing the powers of the country's highest legislative court, the Constitutional Tribunal, despite protests and warnings from the European Union. Kijowski further called for foreign intervention in the country from "Europe and the United States" to topple the Law and Justice (PiS) government, saying "they must help us, otherwise Poland will leave the community of democracies". After news broke that Duda had signed into law the constitutional tribunal bill, he made a speech on television defending his move. Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza quoted U.S. sources saying Barack Obama had objections and had let it be known he would delay meeting Duda. The newspaper also suggested Poland’s hosting of the next NATO summit, planned for July 2016, was in the balance.
NATO's Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System becomes partly operational at Romania's Deveselu airbase, as U.S. Navy personnel takes control of the site after years of construction. Aegis Ashore facilities in Romania form part of NATO's European missile defence system, with another site under construction in Poland expected to become operational by 2018. The United States Ambassador to Romania Hans G. Klemm says that they have explained to the Russians on numerous occasions that the missile system is, "not directed at Russia, nor does it have the capability to threaten Russia." The head of Russia's Strategic Missile Troops, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, has dismissed the purported effectiveness of the missile defense system, saying Moscow develops “brand new and effective means and techniques to penetrate any missile defense system”.