Earlier, UK Chief of General Staff Mark Carleton-Smith claimed Russia «indisputably» presented a «far greater threat» to Britain than Islamist extremist groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS)*. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded by saying Russia couldn’t «forbid anyone» from «demonstrating their intellectual…capabilities» with such remarks.
Belgium, along with France, has been particularly hard hit by Daesh terrorist activity. Between 2014 and 2018, the country has faced at least half a dozen terrorist incidents for which Daesh has claimed responsibility. These attacks have left over 45 people dead and more than 310 injured.
Gillis said that to achieve this, Russia is turning toward Asia, where it is seeking to build economic, political, and military alliances with countries like China and Japan. «On the other hand, the Russians consider that we have already entered a post-American multipolar world order and, as such, no longer accept what they call the dictates of the United States». Finally, the general said, Russia wants «to reestablish their influence in what used to be the buffer zones along their borders».
Belgium deployed its military to Afghanistan alongside the US in 2001, with a contingent of troops remaining deployed in the country to this day. In 2011, Belgian forces participated in the NATO intervention in Libya, which led to the overthrow of the Gaddafi government and the collapse of Libya as a state. In 2014, Belgium joined the US-led coalition mission fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The country has also joined its NATO allies in beefing up the alliance’s military presence along the alliance’s eastern borders with Russia, taking charge of NATO’s Baltic air policing mission in Lithuania earlier this year.