Foreign Minister: «Green men» covered by NATO Article 5

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By adopting a new hybrid war strategy, NATO member states have admitted that the fight against hybrid war elements is within the competence of the alliance's Article Five. This holds true whether threats are posed by 'little green men' or cyber-attacks, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told BNS Wednesday.

'Little green men' is the term used to describe unidentified armed men in green uniforms but without insignia. They first appeared in Ukraine during the Crimean crisis. Although they carried the Russian military equipment, the Russian government initially denied its involvement.  

Rinkevics explained that the hybrid war strategy is based on several principles, including preparation, prevention and defense.

"Any of the NATO member states that is struck by hybrid war elements may ask other members for assistance," the minister said.

"The most important aspect is that, in a manner that's binding officially, politically and legally, NATO may react not only to the classic military threat, but also to this phenomenon of the 21st century -- different asymmetric attacks to member states, their critical infrastructure," said the minister.

Rinkevics said that every NATO member state, including Latvia, should prepare also its own national strategies.

"We constantly should improve capabilities of our institutions -- cyber-defense, the ability of the security services, police and border guard to fight the "little green men"," he said, adding that each state should be able to immediately react to the hybrid-threat.

Latvian Foreign Minister Rinkevics is taking part in the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels on December 1-2. NATO adopted a new hybrid warfare strategy at the 28-member defense alliance’s foreign ministers’ conference on December 1.

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