ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Russia Draws a Line in Europe

After submitting to five rounds of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion bet­ween 1997 and 2020, Russia has finally thrown down the gauntlet to the United States (US). Declaring Russia’s endgame, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in early January 2022 bluntly remarked, “We don’t trust the other side … we need iron clad legally binding guarantees” that Ukraine and Georgia will “never ever” become members of the NATO.

It has been asked why has Russia decided to make a big deal about the NATO now? The simplest answer is that any further enlargement of the US-led alliance would bring it to within literally marching distance of the Russian heartland. The NATO troops are today deployed within 100 miles of Saint Petersburg. Throughout the Russian history, except for the brief conflicts with Japan and China in the Far East, the main threat to Russia’s security—and on at least two occasions, its very survival as a state and civilisation—has emanated from the heart of Europe. Although on each occasion Russia rep­ulsed those threats and ultimately emerged victorious, the costs in blood and treasure were astoundingly high. Haunted by this history, creating a periphery zone of states friendly to ­Russia, or at the very least not aligned against it, has therefore always attracted its leaders as a safeguard against external meddling and aggression.

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Updated On : 4th Feb, 2022
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