Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 20 April 2021)
Foreign Minister Di Maio and Defense Minister Guerini were urgently summoned to NATO headquarters in Brussels, for an extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 15 April: the same day that, a Washington, President Biden signed the "Executive Order against the harmful foreign activities of the Russian government".
The Order not only decrees the expulsions of diplomats and economic sanctions, as the media reported. "If Russia continues or intensifies its destabilizing international actions", establishes the Order, "The United States will impose costs such as to cause a strategic impact on Russia".
Just to prepare the "strategic impact", that is, an intensified political-military escalation against Russia, the North Atlantic Council was convened at the level of the Foreign and Defense Ministers 30 NATO countries, formally chaired by Secretary General Stoltenberg, in fact by US Secretary of State Blinken and US Defense Secretary Austin.
The North Atlantic Council - the political body of the Alliance which, according to NATO standards, decides not by majority but always "unanimously and by mutual agreement", that is, in agreement with what was decided in Washington - he approved immediately, unanimously, a «Declaration of solidarity with the United States on actions, announce on 15 April, to respond to Russia's destabilizing activities ".
List then, in the same words as Biden's Executive Order, the charges against Russia: «Destabilizing and provocative behavior, violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, interference in US and Allied elections, vast disinformation campaign, use of nerve gas against Navalny, support for attacks on US / NATO forces in Afghanistan, violation of agreements on non-proliferation and disarmament ".
Suffice it to consider the validity of these accusations, one for all, the latter: to accuse Russia of having violated the agreements on non-proliferation and disarmament are the United States, who have always violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty, deploying nuclear weapons in Italy and other European countries, and who tore up the Inf Treaty by reopening the way for the installation of new nuclear missiles in Europe.
The escalation is not just verbal. The day before the North Atlantic Council, the US Army in Europe has announced that, due to receive two new operating units in the coming months, it will keep three bases in Germany which it should have returned to the German government. The day after the North Atlantic Council, the United States announced an agreement with Norway, which allows them to dispose of 4 air and naval bases on the border with Russia.
In the meantime, the US destroyer Arleigh Burke has returned to Europe, subjected to a modernization that "increased the range and capacity of its armaments". Arleigh Burke is one of the 4 advanced deployment missile units of the Sixth Fleet that, under the orders of the US Naval Forces Command in Europe (with headquarters in Naples-Capodichino), they operate mainly in the Baltic and Black Sea.
These ships are equipped with vertical launchers Mk 41 of Lockheed Martin, able to launch (according to the official technical specifications) «Missiles for all missions: anti-aircraft, anti-nave, and attack against land targets ". This last, including the Tomahawk missile, they can be armed with a conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead. Not being able to know, Russia assumes that, aboard these ships in the vicinity of its territory, there are nuclear attack missiles.
While London is also announcing the forthcoming dispatch of a missile unit to the Black Sea, Moscow announces that, since 24 April to 31 October, no passage of foreign warships will be allowed through Russian territorial waters in three areas of the Black Sea. The situation will become even more tense when, next summer, the US-Ukraine Sea Breeze exercise will take place in the Black Sea, which will also be attended by other NATO countries, with over 30 navi, supported by airplanes, helicopters and drones.
(Il Manifesto, 20 April 2021)