Russia: when superstate becomes a superproblem

Author : Yuriy Onyshchenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

NATO to discuss a "plan B" in relations with the Kremlin
11:53, 3 November 2016

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NATO has faced the unprecedented threats. Russia's aggression in Ukraine, terrorism, cyber attacks, immigration crisis – all these things force the Alliance to build the new strategy and to meet the challenges.

Last week Brussels hosted the Ministerial meeting of NATO, during which significant agreements were achieved, and at the same time, at security forum in Warsaw diplomats and military leaders of NATO countries discussed the implementation of mechanisms, which should secure the future of NATO.

Unlike headquarters in Brussels, where NATO Secretary General just sounded decisions and answered questions from the media, in the Polish capital there was a very frank public discussion.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO seeks no confrontation with Russia

Related: NATO is preparing for Russian military aggression

"NATO is adapting to reality"

The last few months, NATO is adopting a new strategy of containment, which is primarily characterized by the increased military presence on the Eastern borders (4 new units), and creation of new rapid reaction forces.

Deputy Minister of defense of Poland Tomasz Shatkovsky noted that the security of NATO should be based on two principles – constant presence and increased defense.

Related: NATO describes rotation of forces in Eastern Europe

"NATO has begun to adapt to reality," Shatkovsky said, noting that focusing on the East, we should not forget about the southern border.

Concerns of Romania and Bulgaria are not baseless, and therefore, NATO began to prepare for dealing with potential threats from the South.

"The lack of trust, lack of predictability, a violation of international law, the increasing military activity by Russia are increasingly concerned," said the Deputy foreign Minister of Romania, Sebastian Neculaescu.

Related: NATO official: Alliance and Ukraine to enhance cooperation in security sector

Romania, along with Bulgaria initiates the creation of a multinational battalion, Poland actively helps them too. In addition, the Romanians are in favor of strengthening the Maritime component of NATO in the Black sea.

The allies believe the right taken at the July summit decisions, and yet there are opinions that it is only the updating of the strategy, while the necessary radical changes such as a new level of coordination at the strategic level. Deputy Minister of defense of the Czech Republic believes that the growth of exercises, updating of infrastructure, are, in fact, routine things that have happened before.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO stands with Ukraine

In addition, representatives of many countries noted the need to strengthen military cooperation between the neighbors of NATO members, strive to, first of all, the Baltic countries and the Visegrad four. It was also noted about additional cooperation with the countries of Northern Europe, including those that are not members of NATO but have common borders with Russia, such as Finland.

"Superproblem, not a superpower"

Russia, of course, was one of the leading themes of the three-day debate. Everyone agreed on one matter – returning to the relations with Russia, which were earlier, is just impossible.

Most sharp position concerning Russian Federation was expressed by the representatives of the Baltic States. And they can be understood, because they may soon see at their border rocket complexes "Iskander" and the newest Russian ships.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO and allies to assist Ukraine via trust funds

"When we talk about troubled countries, the first that comes to mind is not a superpower of Russia, but Russia as superproblem. Today, it is important to react, not to wait until too late what has happened," said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius. It is noteworthy that participants may not have thought about sanctions, and talked more about a potential military conflict with Russia.

The coordinator of the US state Department on the issue of sanctions is convinced that financial and military sanctions have had their effect, and expressed the hope that to resolve conflict issues still succeed politically. "Sanctions have a limited purpose. Russian challenge is not only territorial aggression, but also political and intellectual challenge," he said.

Related: Ukraine as a major non-NATO ally of the US

In addition to the military aspect, great attention was paid to propaganda, which is an important tool of Russian influence.

Advisor to the President of Estonia on security Merle Maigre noted that the main purpose of Russian propaganda is to undermine the faith of EU citizens in a joint European project and make them question the necessity of NATO membership. Separately, it was noted that the Russian media since 2008 increasingly used by the European left and the right experts for the Russian audience, presenting them as leading experts from the EU.

"After 2013, they are attracted to justify the events in Ukraine, the invasion of the Crimea," said Maigre. "It is not a civil war in Ukraine. It is the Russian aggression."

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO supports Ukraine's position on sanctions against Russia

The topic of Ukraine sounded at the outset of the representative forum. Already in his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawski stressed that the situation in Donbas is concerning.

"Not all the neighbors of Poland have friendly intentions, just enough to look to the East of our borders... If you want peace, prepare for war," he said.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze during the discussion confirmed that the situation in the Donbas not improving and through that Western sanctions should continue. "This is not a Ukrainian crisis or a civil war. This is Russian aggression. Therefore, it is important for us to be confident that sanctions will continue," she said.

Related: Turkish Foreign Minister criticizes NATO, says EU ‘humiliates’ Turkey

The ex-President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves insists that it is necessary to debate in the country and urged not to listen to those who asked "not to rock the boat."

"In Ukraine there are thousands of armed Russian servicemen and some people still say – don't rock the boat," he said.

Forum participants have repeatedly confirmed the willingness of their countries to continue political and practical support for Ukraine in the NATO framework and bilateral agreements. Therefore, NATO countries hope to resolve the conflict involving Russia, politically, but I want to have a plan B if the Kremlin refuses civilized solutions.

Related: NATO: Turkey is valued ally

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