The military policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Russia shifted from partnership to deterrence, according to Russian Envoy Alexander Grushko.
In an interview with Rossiya-24 television, Grushko said, “I believe that the essence of [the Alliance’s] military planning process today is that it clearly shows a shift from the policy of partnership to the policy of deterrence in relation to Russia, not only in political but also in military terms.”
According to Grushko, one of the primary agenda on during the next NATO Summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, 2016 is the Russia-NATO relations.
NATO made every effort to build partnership with Russia through dialogues and practical cooperations in areas of common interest for more than two decades.
Russia’s relations with NATO started at the end of the Cold War when it joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1991 and the Partnership for Peace program in 1994.
The formal basis for the relations between NATO and Russia was established under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. In 2002, dialogue and cooperation between the two parties were strengthened with the establishment f the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), which serves as a forum for consultation on current security issues and direct practical cooperation in a wide range of areas.
However, NATO suspended the formal meetings of the NRC and cooperation in some areas in response to Russia’s military actions in Georgia in August 2008 until 2009.
In April 2014, NATO eventually suspended all civilian and military cooperation under the NRC in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. NATO leaders criticized Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and demanded its compliance with international laws during the Wales Summit in September last year. They also asked the Russian government to end its illegal annexation of Crimea, stop its aggressive actions against Ukraine and discontinue its support to the separatists.
Since the annexation of Crimea, NATO’s relationship with Russia deteriorated and started to reinforce its military presence along the westerns border of the country. Moscow viewed that such actions threatened the regional and global security.
In July, Grushko warned that the relations between Moscow and the West worsened to Col War-era lows. According to him, “Any political game concerning NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine is filled with the most serious, most profound geopolitical consequences for all of Europe.”
He also accused NATO of raising an “iron curtain” in Europe by conducting military exercises and deploying troops near the Easter border of Russia. NATO said its actions were intended to deter Moscow.
NATO military exercise in Southern Europe a warning to Russia
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Trident Juncture military exercise in Southern Europe served as a warning to all potential enemies including Russia during a recent interview with ABC, a Spanish newspaper.
According to General Stoltenberg, NATO is ready to deploy air, ground, and naval forces immediately, if necessary, to defend the alliance against any threat. The military exercise, which involves 36,000 troops from 30 countries started on October 1 until November 6.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that NATO would deploy 4,000 combat forces near the Russian borders while Russia conducts its military operations in Syria. Its intention was to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that NATO troops are watching his moves, and they are ready to respond.
Political analyst Don DeBar commented, “They [Washington and its allies] are clearly preparing to fight a war with Russia, and they are not only preparing to fight it at the old battle lines at Russia’s door while they talk about Russia provoking.”
NATO hope to resume constructive relations with Russia
NATO Deputy Spokesperson Carmen Romero denied the report that the alliance was planning to increase its military presence near Russia. According to Romero, “Allies will continue to discuss the next steps to deal with security challenges as we prepare for NATO summit in Warsaw next July, including how to further strengthen collective defense through long-term adoption. But we are not discussing at this stage specific options.”
Last month, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said they are hoping to resume constructive relations with Russia.
“I said it’s not a question of whether we have a relationship with Russia; it’s what kind of relationship. And clearly, over time, we would all hope to move back to a more constructive, cooperative relationship with Russia,” said General Vershbow. He added that Russia could help solve international problems, but it depends on its decisions.