The NATO-Russia Council will meet in Brussels today to discuss Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border and possibly its involvement
The NATO-Russia Council will meet in Brussels today to discuss Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border and possibly its involvement in quelling recent protests in Kazakhstan.
The meeting comes after US and Russian officials met in Geneva on January 10th, and after Washington and NATO rejected Russian demands that the alliance not admit new members.
Russia has amassed around 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, with intelligence showing troops also in Belarus and Crimea. NATO convened an extraordinary foreign affairs ministers’ meeting on January 7th, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated the organization is engaging diplomatically but is prepared if diplomacy fails.
The Kremlin has long expressed their disdain for NATO’s expansion towards its borders and Ukraine’s position as NATO’s “Enhanced Opportunity Partner.” Many experts believe Ukraine’s position is untenable—close enough with the alliance to draw Russia’s ire, but without NATO’s collective defense guarantee.
While a NATO military response is unlikely, both the EU and US have threatened to impose harsh sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine again.
Russian media has reported that representatives suggest a “buffer zone” at today’s meeting, creating a non-deployment zone between NATO’s current deployments and Russia’s border. However, an ultimate solution is unlikely in the short-term.