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Nato 'vulnerable' to Russian threat, MPs warn

Russia's destabilisation of Ukraine has exposed "serious deficiencies" in Nato's preparedness to deal with a military threat from its former Cold War adversary, a parliamentary report has warned.

While the risk of a conventional military assault by Russia on a Nato member state remains "low", the danger of an unconventional attack using the kind of "ambiguous warfare" tactics deployed by President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine is "more substantial", the House of Commons Defence Committee said.

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Boost presence in 'vulnerable' Baltic states, MPs urge

Prince Harry meets Estonian troops in Sangaste in May. Credit: PA

The 28-nation Nato alliance should urgently undertake a "radical reform" to prepare for either eventuality, including by establishing a continuous presence of Nato troops in its "vulnerable" Baltic members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and pre-positioning military equipment in the three former Soviet states, a cross-party panel of MPs said.

"Dramatic" improvements should also be made to existing rapid reaction forces, headquarters structures should be established for eastern Europe and the Baltic and large-scale exercises involving military and political leaders from all Nato states should be conducted.

And they said that Nato should reconsider its Article 5 commitment for all members to come to the aid of any member which is attacked, to make clear that this includes countering unconventional threats such as cyber-attacks, information warfare and the use of irregular militia.

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