U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called on NATO member states to boost their defense investments as the conflict escalates between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported Friday.
David Alexander writes Hagel said in a speech Friday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center that a lack of defense spending “threatens NATO’s integrity, cohesion and capability – and ultimately, both European and transatlantic security.”
“NATO must stand ready to revisit the basic principles underlying its relationship with Russia,” Hagel told his audience, according to Alexander’s article.
Reuters reports the U.S.’ national security outlay is three times that of its allies’ combined defense spending.
Hagel also urged the budget leaders of NATO nations to hold a meeting and discuss the matter.
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities,” Hagel said, according to Reuters.
NATO “should expect Russia to test our alliance’s purpose, stamina and commitment,” he added, Alexander reports.
U.S. and European leaders are monitoring the Russian military buildup along the eastern border of Ukraine as well as pro-Russian militants’ takeover of buildings in the region.