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British PM urges NATO overhaul as hedge against Russia

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 7:38 p.m.
Reuters
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street in London July 31, 2014.

LONDON — NATO must overhaul itself to be able to better defend its members from a potential Russian military threat, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday.

In a letter to alliance leaders, Cameron said it is clear that Russia views NATO as an adversary.

Cameron said that the world is more unpredictable because “Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive destabilization of Ukraine.”

“We must accept that the cooperation of recent years is not currently possible because of Russia's own illegal actions in NATO's neighborhood and revisit the principles that guide our relationship with Russia,” Cameron said.

A report by British lawmakers on Thursday accused NATO of being complacent about the threat that Russia posed. It said Baltic states Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — all ex-Soviet republics once ruled from Moscow — are particularly vulnerable.

In response, NATO said it was considering reinforcement measures and had acknowledged the need to adapt to a changed security environment.

In six weeks, a NATO summit will be held in Wales, the first such meeting in Britain since Margaret Thatcher hosted the alliance in 1990 as the Cold War was coming to a close.

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