Russian Chief of Defence visits NATO’s Operational Command
General Nikolai Makarov, the Russian Chief of General Staff, visited Allied Command Operations at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, on 17 January. He met the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, received operational briefings and toured SHAPE facilities, including the bunker housing the command of NATO forces in Europe.
Upon his arrival, General Makarov was personally greeted by the Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis and an Honour Guard.
The Russian Chief of Defence was briefed on NATO’s current operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as on the results of last year’s operation in Libya. He was also given an opportunity to learn more about the reform of the Alliance’s command structure and other ongoing military reforms.
His tour of SHAPE’s facilities included a visit to the future Comprehensive Crisis Operations Management Centre. General Makarov also became the first Russian top military commander to visit the bunker housing the command of NATO forces in Europe.
The following day, the Russian Chief of Defence joined his Allied counterparts at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), at which the NRC Military Work Plan for 2012 was endorsed. During his visit, the General awarded medals to three senior officers of NATO’s International Military Staff in recognition of their contribution to the strengthening of combat cooperation.