Russia’s Demands for NATO


Liam Elder, Staff Writer-Photo Editor

     Russia, one of the world’s few Global Superpowers, has placed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian Border. This is not the first time Russia has done this, but it is the first time it has been done to this magnitude.

A map of the current countries that are a part of NATO. Russia demanded that all border countries and more are removed from NATO.

     Russia understands that threats only work if they are credible, but based on past history this is a show of force not an actual invasion threat. Nonetheless, the risk of invasion is still real and these actions should be treated as such. 

     Polish Foreign Minister, Zbigniew Rau, warned that the risk of war is the highest it has been in 30 years, and that the threat is real, but not imminent. 

     These performances of force are coming with demands from Russia, their first being that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) needs to stay out of Eastern Europe. This means that NATO would be banned from deploying troops and weapons into fourteen different eastern and central European states. This would essentially make those countries’ membership trivial. 

     Putin sees the Expansion of NATO eastward into former Communist countries, as a breach of the promise made by the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviets peaceful drawback. And if they continue to push NATO east, it would seem that they are taking advantage of Russian weakness. 

     The United States and NATO are clear on the fact that they think Russia knows this demand is unrealistic. This would essentially give Russia’s concerns priority over national security. “NATO poses no threat to Russia either – unless, of course, Russia chose to pose a threat to NATO.” Secretary Veronica Noland said during a press briefing on January 11th. Essentially saying that the troops are there for protection, not to threaten. 

    Russia’s second demand is that they want a guarantee from NATO, stating that Ukraine, and other former soviet countries, can never join NATO. It is seen that Ukraine joining NATO is unrealistic, because they do not reach the standard for membership. Even so, Russia does not see it as unrealistic. “We do not trust the other side. We need ironclad, waterproof, bullet-proof, legally binding guarantees. Not safeguards… guarantees.” Russia’s chief negotiator, Sergei Ryabkov, said after fallen through talks with US officials.

     The United States and Europe are trying to make it clear to President Putin what he would be up against if he decides to proceed. This is an attempt to sway him. The next few weeks will be an important few for Europe and the world.