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NATO will demote Russia from ‘strategic partner’ to the bloc’s ‘main threat,’ Spain says

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

  • NATO will identify Russia as its “main threat,” Spain’s prime minister said.
  • The bloc previously called Russia a strategic partner said it was important to have a relationship with it.
  • NATO’s chief said Wednesday: “We’ll state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security.”

NATO will stop viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” and instead identify it as the bloc’s “main threat,” Spain’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

Pedro Sanchez told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that NATO would change the designation in its new Strategic Concept, the document that outlines NATO’s outlook, Reuters reported.

NATO is currently holding its summit in Madrid, Spain, which means Sanchez is its host.

NATO’s last Strategic Concept, which was adopted in 2010, identified Russia as one of NATO’s “Euro-Atlantic partners” and said: “NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance as it contributes to creating a common space of peace, stability and security.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed Sanchez when speaking to reporters on Wednesday, saying: “We’ll state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security,” according to France 24.

The 2010 Strategic Concept was adopted in 2010 after a NATO summit in Lisbon. Stoltenberg told reporters last week that NATO and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “agreed in that strategic concept that Russia is a strategic partner and that the Euro-Atlantic area was a peace.”

“That will not be the case now,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO “will not state that the Euro-Atlantic area is at peace, actually, there’s a war going on in Europe. We will not refer to Russia as a strategic partner.”

In 2020, NATO said it had tried to “work hard to establish a strategic partnership with Russia” after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but noted that “practical cooperation has been suspended” since 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea.

NATO has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has supplied Ukraine with weapons.

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