October 1, ex-Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg took over as head of NATO.
55-year-old Stoltenberg succeeded the citizen of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, becoming the 13th Secretary General of the Alliance.
Stoltenberg took on leadership of NATO at the time when the organization is preparing for the withdrawal of major combat units from Afghanistan and experiencing strain in relations with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
The former leader of the Norwegian Labor Party Stoltenberg led the Norwegian Government in 2000-2001 and 2005-2013, respectively. During his tenure, the armed forces of the country were the part of the international coalition in Afghanistan and the operation to ensure no-fly zone over Libya in 2011. In addition, in 2010, Norway and Russia signed a treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean, putting an end to the 40-year conflict between these two countries.
Stoltenberg considers the participation of the Russian troops in combat operations in Donbas unacceptable. However, Moscow continues to deny accusations of Kiev and a number of Western politicians of supporting the pro-Russian separatists fighting in the eastern Ukraine, as well as the Russian troop"s participation in combat operations in Ukraine.