NATO-Russia council to meet for first time since Kerch Strait incident

NATO-Russia council to meet for first time since Kerch Strait incident

The NATO-Russia Council will meet in Brussels today to discuss the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as Washington’s intention

NATO russia council

Photo: AP

The NATO-Russia Council will meet in Brussels today to discuss the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as well as Washington’s intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

In November, Russian forces drew NATO condemnation when they seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait­­–a commercially and militarily strategic entry point to the Sea of Azov.

Tensions are expected to remain high at today’s meeting, the first since the incident. NATO has sent regular patrols to the Black Sea since December, and the US and Europe have continued sanctions on military-related commodities and investments in large Russian companies. However, Germany and France have been wary of harsh punishments for Russia, and further sanctions are not expected at this time.

Meanwhile, on January 15, a Moscow court ruled that the 24 Ukrainian sailors currently awaiting trial on charges related to November’s events would remain in prison until at least April 24. Neither side is likely to back down now, especially since Russia continues to claim being unfairly targeted by NATO. The Kremlin may provoke a stronger NATO response if its detention of Ukrainian sailors continues indefinitely, potentially sparking heavier sanctions on Russian enterprises in the coming months.

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