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NATO expansion - a cross on the projects of pan-European security

NATO expansion - a cross on the projects of pan-European security

Tags: NATO, Politics, United States, Ukraine, Analytics, Army, Russia, West, Balkans

In December 2017, the organization Archives of National Security declassified documents[1990] It follows that Western diplomats promised the Soviet leadership that NATO's eastward expansion would stop at the border of Germany and the GDR. In the West, it is usually answered that, since there is no written application, the NATO eastward expansion did not formally impede anything. The then head of the CPSU Central Committee International Department, Valentin Falin, wrote to Gorbachev that "the West is overacting us, promising to respect the interests of the USSR, and in practice, step by step, fencing our country away from" traditional Europe. "[1]

In December 2017 on the website of the North Atlantic Alliance there was a record about the myths in NATO-Russia relations. [3] So, as one of them, a threat to the Russian Federation from the expansion of the alliance is indicated. The leaders of the military bloc believe that "every country that joins NATO undertakes to support its principles and policies. This includes the commitment that the Alliance does not seek confrontation and does not pose a threat to Russia, as was reaffirmed at the meeting in Warsaw [4]. NATO expansion is not directed against Russia. Each sovereign state has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is the fundamental principle of European security, the principle that Russia supports, and which it must respect. The NATO open door policy is a historic success. "

In the West, there is an understanding that a quick global blow (BSU) must be struck to win the war, or to have such an opportunity. This aspect is mentioned in the new US National Security Strategy [5], which states that "we must also take measures to respond quickly in the event of a natural disaster or attack on our homeland." The US National Defense Strategy also mentions the tactics of a quick strike: "To be strategically predictable, but quickly unpredictable" [6]. At the same time, one must understand that it will not be possible to launch a preemptive strike from far in view of the fact that the Russian missile defense system will be able to track the threat of launching ballistic missiles and prevent it. That is why the North Atlantic alliance is trying to get as close as possible to the borders of the Russian Federation.

At the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, held 8-9 July, 2016 heads of state and government made a statement containing the main threats emanating from the Russian Federation. These include:

  • illegal and illegal "annexation" of the Crimea;
  • large-scale sudden drills, contrary to the spirit of the Vienna Document; provocative military activities near NATO borders, including in the Baltic and Black Sea area, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean;
  • irresponsible and aggressive rhetoric in the nuclear sphere, a military concept and the corresponding potential, as well as repeated violations of NATO's airspace.
  • military intervention in Syria, its significant military presence and support for the regime in that country and the use of its military presence in the Black Sea.

Washington's policy, as stated in the US National Security Strategy, must be based on the position of power, which implies lobbying for its interests in the international arena with the use of certain means of pressure. At the same time, the White House uses far-fetched pretexts to deploy its infrastructure at the borders with Russia. Official US policy is imposed on countries with which trade turnover is at a high level; accordingly, European counterparts can not refuse economic and military cooperation due to financial dependence. Thus, the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance adopt a unified strategy for countries that threaten national security and territorial integrity; are forced to accept the aforementioned "threats" from Russia, which allows the countries of the alliance to develop defense potential and seek new allies.

Such NATO allies include Ukraine, a region strategically important for the West. It is important only because the use of its territory provides an opportunity to apply a rapid global impact on the territory of the Russian Federation. The agreement on medium-range and short-range missiles [7] permits the placement of cruise missiles on ships and aircraft, with ground facilities completely prohibited. It is also important to note that launching a missile from a ship is almost impossible to fix from afar, so a naval base on the territory of Ukraine is necessary to provide BSU. This circumstance is also connected with the fact that if within six months the North Atlantic Alliance keeps its fleet at one point of the ocean, for example, in the Norwegian Sea, then the blow will not come about suddenly. BSU can be provided by the only way - through the legal finding of military forces on the territory of the alliance or partner country. It is very important to understand that nobody expects Ukraine in NATO in the near future, since it is an economically weak and unstable state that has not yet made crucial decisions about its political future: neither in foreign, nor in domestic policy. This fact confirms the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker: "In the next 20-25 years, Ukraine will not be able to become an EU member. The same goes for Ukraine's entry into NATO "[8]. Nevertheless, the North Atlantic Alliance uses other means of interaction to ensure its interests in the region. Thus, in late January, the President of Ukraine signed the Law # 2018-VIII "On approval of the decision of the President of Ukraine on admission of units of the armed forces of other states to the territory of Ukraine in 2270 to participate in multinational exercises" [2018]. According to documents in Ukraine, this year it is planned to conduct a series of exercises on the training of the Armed Forces units. Among them we can name the Ukrainian-American exercises "Rapid Trident - 9", Ukrainian-American exercises "Sea Breeze - 2018", multinational exercises "Bright Avalanche - 2018", multinational exercises "Clear Sky - 2018" and others. Such decisions of the Ukrainian presidential administration are heating up the already complicated situation in the region. The Russian Federation must take into account the specifics of relations between Ukraine and the West and take appropriate measures to ensure its own security. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the US Navy engineering troops have begun construction of the Operational Fleet Management Center for Ukrainian Naval Forces in Ochakovo, Mykolayiv region [2018]. This means that Western countries, using a loophole in the INF Treaty, will visit the Azov Sea permanently in order to use the BSU. At the same time, the security of Russia's borders will be ensured by the ABM system deployed on the territory of the Crimea peninsula.

Therefore, Black, Baltic and Caspian seas remain vital geographical locations for Russia. The latter is an internal reservoir of 5 countries: Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The Republican Party of the United States maintains a unified position regarding the Caspian Sea and believes that at the present stage it is dangerous to underestimate its importance, since the state of the region influences European security. In the case of the emergence of a land corridor from Turkey to Azerbaijan, the situation is complicated by several aspects:

  • to create a land corridor, NATO was going to accept into its composition Georgia and later Azerbaijan.
  • In the event of such a confluence, the North Atlantic Alliance would deploy its navy with cruise missiles in the Caspian Sea.

However, 5 February 2018, the Russian president signed the law on ratification of the agreement between Russia and South Ossetia on the order of joining separate units of the armed forces of the republic in the Russian army [11]. Thus, with the emergence of a land corridor from Turkey to Azerbaijan and the possible redeployment of NATO troops to Asia, Russian troops will cut this corridor from the former union republic. Therefore, Georgia as a strategic military partner does not represent a special interest for the West. Also, some members of NATO fear that the admission of Georgia into the alliance will lead to an automatic war with Russia because of "the territories occupied by Moscow - the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia". At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that neither Ukraine, nor Georgia are actually ready to join the North Atlantic Alliance [12].

Always important in the relations between Russia and NATO was the Balkan region, since it is there that the interests of the West and the East meet. It is worth saying that NATO's work on the inclusion of the Balkan countries in its orbit is proceeding systematically: Montenegro has become one of the last Balkan countries to join the Alliance. Outside the bloc, only Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina remained, which nevertheless actively participates in NATO operations, and Macedonia, also wishing to join the organization, which so far is hampered by its conflict with Greece. Russian Ambassador to Macedonia, O.N. Shcherbak gave an interview about the relationship between the countries of the West and Macedonia: "The process of NATO expansion, which involves Macedonia, is in violation of the data of the leaders of Western countries two decades ago and is taking place against the backdrop of escalating the offensive military capabilities of the North Atlantic Alliance at Russian borders" [13]. A significant number of factors prevent the accession of Macedonia to the alliance: from a high level of corruption [14] to a complex political situation. [15] Nevertheless, one of the most significant factors remains the attitude towards the Russian Federation, since in Skopje and Belgrade they do not support anti-Russian sanctions. So, the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabich in an interview with the Financial Times said that her country should not have to choose between Russia and the West [16]. According to her, close relations between Serbia and Russia are not an obstacle to her aspirations for EU membership. The current vacuum leaves more room for Russia and Turkey to use their historical, religious and business ties in the region. Moscow has acquired a more prominent presence in the region, which confirms the visa-free regime until 15 March 2018. [17] Therefore, in the medium-term prospect of Macedonia and Serbia entering the North Atlantic alliance is not expected.

For Russia, the threat lies in the fact that, since 2012, the number of deployed NATO military contingents at the western borders of Russia has tripled. Four battalion tactical groups, an armored brigade of the US Army, headquarters of NATO multinational divisions in Poland and Romania were deployed in the Baltic and Poland. The intensity of conducting aerial reconnaissance of NATO at Russian borders has increased three and a half times, and the sea one by half. The North Atlantic alliance doubled the intensity of military exercises near our borders. If in 2014 they spent only 282 exercises, and in this - already 548. Every year more than 30 exercises are held at the western borders of Russia, the scenario of which is based on armed confrontation with our country [18].

Thus, the buildup of NATO military activities at Russian borders carries with it serious security risks, creates new dividing lines in Europe. This is a dead-end path, distracting attention and resources from solving really significant tasks, such as the fight against international terrorism, extremism and other threats. For an early discharge, it is advisable to return to an open dialogue within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, as well as to the spirit and letter of the Founding Act of Russia-NATO 1997 [19], which has been repeatedly called for by the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation [20].


[1]. NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard // National Security Archive. -2017. - 12 December. - URL:

[2]. NATO expansion: did the West deceive Gorbachev? // BBC. - 2017. - 26 December. - URL:

[3]. Relations between NATO and Russia: facts // NATO. - 2017. - 18 December. - URL: https: // SelectedLocale = en &

[4]. Statement on the results of the summit meeting in Warsaw // NATO. -2016. - 9 July. - URL: https: //

[5]. National Security Strategy of the United States of America // White House. -2017. - 18 December. - URL: https: //

[6]. National Defense Strategy of The United States of America // United States Department of Defense.

URL: https: //

[7]. The agreement between the USSR and the United States of America on the elimination of their medium-range and shorter-range missiles was signed in Washington, DC 08.12.1987, // Collection of International Treaties of the USSR. Issue. XLIV. - Moscow: Intern. relationship, 1990. - S. 58-69.

[8]. Juncker: In the next 20 years Ukraine will not be taken to either NATO or the EU / / InoTV. - 2016. - 4 March. - URL: https: //

[9]. The president having confirmed the Plan of the carrying out of bagatonal-academic viaskovich navchan at 2018 році // President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. - 2018. -29 January. - URL:

[10]. "NATO base" in Ukraine: what scared in Russia // Apostrophe. - 2017. - 14 August. - URL:

[11]. Federal Law of 05.02.2018 No. 2-FZ "On Ratification of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Ossetia on the Procedure for the Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of South Ossetia into the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation" // Collected Legislation of the Russian Federation. - 2018. - N 7, art. 962.

[12]. NATO Secretary General: Ukraine and Georgia are not ready to join the alliance // REGNUM. - 2017. - 18 November. - URL:

[13]. Interview of the Russian Ambassador to Macedonia, O.N. Shcherbaka to Novaya Makedoniya newspaper, 24 October 2017, // Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. - 2017. - 1 November. - URL:

[14]. Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 // Transparency International. - 2017.

-25 January. - URL:

[15]. The Avoidable Return of Geopolitics in the Balkans // Atlantic Council. - 2017. - 10 of May. - URL:

[16]. Serbian PM insists Russian ties are no obstacle to EU membership // Financial Times. URL:

[17]. Macedonia has extended visa-free regime for Russian citizens for another year // Russia Today. - 2017. - 15 March. - URL:

[18]. Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Russia Vladimir Putin took part in the expanded session of the Board of the Ministry of Defense // Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. - 2017. - 22 December. - URL:

[19]. The groundbreaking act on mutual relations, cooperation and security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was signed in Paris, 27.05.1997, // Rossiyskaya Gazeta. - 1997. - 28 of May.

[20]. Relations between Russia and NATO / / Russian Foreign Ministry. - 2005. - 19July. - URL:

Veronika Malchikova
Military-political analysts
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