Insight Turkey Volume 18 No. 4, 2016
The Russian military activities that resulted in the illegal annexation of Crimea and the crisis in Eastern Ukraine have been defined as “hybrid warfare” by Western countries and declared one of the greatest security threats facing Europe and NATO. There is consensus among most observers, including NATO officials, that the Alliance was caught by surprise, failing to deter Russian activities and prevent the annexation of Crimea. In the face of reluctance amongst member countries to invest funds and attention, the Ukrainian crisis served as a warning on the new security risks facing the Alliance. Under pressure from Eastern European members who felt under imminent Russian threat, the Allies opted for structural and functional improvements to NATO’s military systems. Convened in the midst of the crisis, the Wales Summit played an important role in framing the new NATO. Today the Alliance is expected to provide military capabilities to counter Russian hybrid warfare activities that threaten European security in addition to emerging threats from Northern Africa to the Middle East. Allied leaders accepted the Readiness Action Plan (RAP), which consists of assurance measures (including continuous air, land, and maritime presence and meaningful military activities in Eastern European countries), as well as adaptation measures, ensuring the Alliance can respond swiftly, firmly and fully to security challenges.