The Latest: Russia says it won’t get in arms race with NATO


LONDON (AP) – The Latest on the NATO summit in London (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russia will not get involved in an arms race with NATO, even if the alliance increases its military spending.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that European allies and Canada have added $130 billion to their defense spending since 2016.

Peskov said Wednesday that NATO’s increased military spending “reinforces” the Kremlin’s concerns.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that NATO’s expansion and beefing up of its military infrastructure near Russia’s borders threatens the nation’s security.

Peskov said, however, that Russia will not get involved “in an arms race or in a spending race” with NATO as it would be detrimental to the country’s economy.

“Putin repeatedly pointed out that we are operating in a different way,” he said.


10:05 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is refusing to apologize for saying that NATO is suffering “brain death” and says his remarks could help jumpstart talks at the alliance about important strategic issues.

Arriving Wednesday at a NATO summit near London, Macron said his interview with the Economist magazine, which alarmed some allies, has “allowed us to raise fundamental debates.”

Chief among them, Macron says, is “how to build sustainable peace in Europe.”

He says NATO “debates should be about other things than budgets and finances.”

Macron says leaders’ “responsibility is to highlight ambiguities that could be damaging and to launch a real strategic debate.”

In the interview last month, Macron said NATO was suffering due to a lack of U.S. leadership and through ally Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump described the remarks as “very, very nasty.”


9:45 a.m.

NATO leaders on Wednesday played down their differences and insisted that they remain united over security issues and determined to defend each other despite a series of spats between the presidents of some of the alliance’s biggest member countries.

Ahead of a summit near London, French President Emmanuel Macron had lamented the “brain death” of NATO due in part to what he called a lack of U.S. leadership. President Donald Trump branded his remarks as “very disrespectful.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Macron himself is “brain dead.”

The infighting is mostly due to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. Macron has complained that Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region without warning his NATO allies. Turkey saw the move as a greenlight to send its troops in.

“NATO is agile, NATO is active, NATO is adapting,” NATO-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said when asked by reporters whether the world’s biggest security alliance is brain dead.

“As long as we are able to deliver substance… then NATO proves once again that we are able to respond to a shifting security landscape, and that’s the best way to also provide unity of this alliance,” he said before chairing the summit at a luxury hotel and golf resort on the outskirts of London.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, welcome U.S. President Donald Trump during a NATO leaders meeting at The Grove hotel and resort in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg rejected Wednesday French criticism that the military alliance is suffering from brain death, and insisted that the organization is adapting to modern challenges. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)