Author`s name Alexander Shtorm

NATO challenges Russia to nuclear response to cyberattacks

NATO has the right to use military force in response to cyberattacks, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the alliance believes.

During a webinar at the University of South Florida, Stoltenberg explained that NATO was ready to resort to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which enshrines the principle of collective defense, in response to cyberattacks.

According to him, NATO will resort to Article 5 when the alliance comes across acts of aggression with the use of military means.

Article 5 of NATO's founding treaty enshrines the principle of collective defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The article provides for a collective response in the event of an armed attack on one or several NATO member states.

Stoltenberg bluntly stated that other countries took aggressive action against NATO allies not too long ago. The adversary allegedly used non-military means to try to attack NATO.

The Secretary General said that NATO would have to adapt to such conditions as soon as possible, so the organization was ready to resort to Article 5 to respond to cyber attacks.

He also said that NATO should counter disinformation and protect the vitally important infrastructure of the alliance more actively.

According to experts, this is evidenced by earlier leaked documents as well. For example, the Pentagon's cyber strategy, which The Wall Street Journal had at its disposal, the US Department of Defense would henceforth equate cyberattacks with traditional military actions and respond to them as an act of aggression.

At the same time, the International Strategy for Action in Cyberspace, that the White House distributed, says that the United States has the right to respond to cyber attacks with all available means, including nuclear weapons.

Russia does not equate cyberattacks on public state bodies with military attacks, nor does it acknowledge the need to retaliate to such attacks with missile strikes.

Tellingly, the document titled Basic Principles of State Policy on Nuclear Deterrence says that the conditions specifying the possibility of nuclear weapons use by the Russian Federation are as follows:

"...attack by adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces response actions."

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called Russia, China, terrorism, cyber attacks and climate the main threats to the alliance and the European Union.