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Russia says NATO ‘totally shocked’ by Australia-UK-US alliance

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (file photo)

A top Russian diplomat says a newly formed military alliance among the United States, Britain and Australia has totally surprised NATO itself, rather than the opponents.

The trilateral security partnership has sparked a crisis of trust among Western allies.

Australia abruptly canceled its 2016 contract to buy French submarines, and instead opted for US nuclear-powered submarines as part of the Aukus alliance with Washington and London.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that the controversial alliance “came as a total surprise and a shock for NATO.”

The Aukus alliance, she said, “came as an absolute surprise not for those whom the US, Australia and the UK call their opponents and whom they are collaborating against, but for their allies and the military and political blocs that the US and the UK are part of.”

“The developments that are unfolding around Australia… require special attention from the political analyst community, including experts on international relations and military and strategic issues.”

The trio presented the partnership deal last week, instantly drawing condemnation from France – a NATO ally – as well as China and Russia.

Paris accused the longtime allies Washington and Canberra of lying over the security pact, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian describing the move as a “stab in the back.”

On Monday, Brussels expressed its support and solidarity with France saying that the alliance “ran counter to calls for greater cooperation with the European Union in the Indo-Pacific.”

European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton told CNN on Monday that “something is broken between our relations in Europe and the US.”

Some observers say the submarine row – if not controlled by Washington – would certainly damage the mutual trust between the US and its European allies on the one hand and the unity within NATO on the other.


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