One of the goals of the war unleashed in Ukraine, the Kremlin called the weakening of the influence of the United States and NATO. By the end of the third month of the “special operation” the anti-NATO strategy of the Russian Federation led to the expansion of the Alliance directly to the Russian border. True, while this is not the border of the Russian Federation with Ukraine.
If at the beginning of March 2022 the Russian Foreign Ministry insisted that among the goals of the “special military operation” in Ukraine was the elimination of the military threat to Russia, which “comes from Ukrainian territory due to its development by NATO countries”, then by mid-May 2022 it will already be possible begin to reap the benefits of this “strategy”. Blackmailing NATO in the hope of forcing the Alliance “to return to the borders of 1997” led to the fact that on May 18 applications for membership in this international organization submitted by Sweden and Finland.
The moment is truly historic, considering that Finland did not join military blocs and remained neutral since the Second World War, and Sweden has been neutral for more than two centuries.
Life in a parallel reality fueled by its own propaganda, imaginary greatness and attempts to speak with the “powerful of this world” on an equal footing, last year led to the fact that Russia did not come up with anything better than to start blackmailing the West.
In December 2021, the Russian Federation “rolled out” an ultimatum to the civilized world, which it called “security guarantees”. They say that in order for Russia to feel confident, the Alliance, which at that time did not think about anything like that, should not only not accept new members (including Ukraine), but also return to the configuration of forces as of 1997, that is withdraw their forces from Bulgaria and Romania. At the same time, Russia refused to give any guarantees of non-aggression against Ukraine. And Russian propagandists described all this as follows: Moscow, they say, is seriously seeking to restructure the foundations of the security architecture in Europe.
The whole world after such requirements twisted at the temple. And although the Alliance was ready to make some concessions, for example, to exclude the long-term deployment of combat units and ground-based missile systems in Ukraine, if the Russian Federation does the same, unfortunately, The Kremlin has not abandoned its crazy ideas. The result of the “policy of appeasement” was a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Separately, it is worth recalling that in the first days and even weeks, the West did not really believe that Ukraine would be able to rebuff the Russian Federation. In late February, when Russian troops stormed Kyiv, NATO made it very clear that the Alliance did not want a war with Russia. And only if the Russian invasion develops into a long-term occupation, it will be possible to support the Ukrainian partisan movement. However, despite this, having deservedly received in the teeth from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in Russia they make a “good face” and continue to say that their “second army of the world”, of course, is fighting not with some Ukrainians, but with the most the best NATO warriors.
The irony of the situation is that Russia actually succeeded in “rebuilding the foundations of the security architecture in Europe.” Having unleashed a big war in Ukraine, Moscow forced all Western neighbors (except Belarus) to engage in serious military planning. As a result, Finland and Sweden, as mentioned above, have already applied to join the North Atlantic Alliance.
Finnish Minister of State Property and Relations with the EU Tytti Tuppurainen said on one of the TV channels that Finland’s desire to join NATO “is one of the consequences” of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that “Putin’s threats are nothing new.”
“The Finns figured that if the failure in Ukraine forced Vladimir Putin to look for a way out, he would rather attack them than the Baltic countries, which, being members of NATO, are under the protection of the American “umbrella.” The Swedes, in turn, understood that if Vladimir Putin unleashes a conflict with Finland, then they will inevitably be drawn into this war, because an armed Russia will be on their doorstep,” said MEP Bernard Guetta in his column in one of the Western media.
At the same time, the Baltic states and Poland asked the Alliance to significantly expand its military presence in their territories.
According to The Washington Post, the joint proposal says that “direct military aggression by Russia against NATO allies” cannot be ruled out, therefore it is proposed to send a military contingent of up to 20,000 people to each of the countries.
Moreover, according to Bloomberg, in the new NATO strategy, which will be adopted in June, the Alliance may designate the Russian Federation as an “immediate threat.”
Recall that the current NATO concept was approved back in 2010, and it says that “the Euro-Atlantic region is in a state of peace,” and Russia is called a “strategic partner” in the document.
Point not set yet
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, now the application of Finland and Sweden must be supported by 30 member countries. This is expected to take about two weeks.
To date, only Turkey has voiced its desire block new members from joining the Alliance. Ankara calls the tolerance of Sweden and Finland towards Kurdish organizations and the opposition formal reasons for its disagreement, but it is unofficially known that in this way Erdogan wants to get concessions from the United States on other issues – in particular, on the acquisition of American fighters. With a high degree of probability, this topic will be discussed on May 18 at a meeting of the Turkish and US foreign ministers.
“This situation will require US intervention, since most of Ankara’s demands are not so much about the Swedes or the Finns, but about the Americans and their foreign policy of the last six years. Ideally, for Erdogan, this is a meeting with Biden, where they” decide everything “. To me, this reminiscent of last year’s desire of Putin to meet with the American leader and decide everything, how to talk heart to heart, frankly, frankly, like an old man,” notes Iliya Kusa, international affairs analyst, expert on international politics and the Middle East at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Analytical Center .
But, judging by the optimistic statements of the NATO leadership, they are determined to seek a compromise. And if an agreement is reached, the two new countries will be able to become members of the Alliance within a few months, although traditionally this period is from 8 months to a year. But such a rush, again, is caused by threats from Russia.
By the way, according to Olga Stefanishina, Deputy Prime Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, if this happens, then Ukraine’s application for NATO membership (when it comes down to it) should be considered just as quickly.
A good mine in a bad game
If until quite recently Moscow threatened the Europeans with “guiding missiles” and even defiantly violated their airspace, then on the eve of the application for NATO membership by Finland and Sweden, Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow said that the accession of these countries to the Alliance … does not pose a threat to Russia.
“Russia has no problems with these states. There is no direct threat for Russia in NATO expansion at the expense of these countries,” he said.
At the same time, according to him, “the expansion of the military infrastructure in these territories will cause a response.”
But the possible accession to the Alliance, following Finland and Sweden, Ukraine, in Russia “causes concern.”
“Ukraine could potentially become a member of NATO, and then Russia would have a territorial dispute with a state in the Alliance, which carries huge risks for the entire continent,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the other day.
“But Ukraine has no claims against Russia,” says Oleksandr Khara, an expert at the Center for Defense Strategies. “It’s just that Russia temporarily illegally holds Ukrainian territories recognized by the whole world as Ukrainian.”
In simple words, now the Kremlin is trying to “forget” that Ukrainian Crimea was annexed in 2014, under the sauce “so that there are no NATO bases in Sevastopol”, and now they say that Ukraine cannot join NATO because of the “territorial dispute”.
At the same time, Russia is simply trying with all its might not to recognize its obvious strategic failure. Failure not only because in just three months Russian border with NATO increases a thousand kilometers, the Baltic Sea is under the complete influence of the countries of the Alliance, and the sea and land blockade of Kaliningrad is not a question at all, if necessary. The failure is also because this border may increase by more than two thousand kilometers at the expense of Ukraine.
Yes, in the midst of hostilities, Kyiv is unlikely to deal with the topic of joining NATO. But the discussion about joining the Alliance should be resumed after the victory.
In addition, according to Aleksey Arestovich, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, if thoughts about Ukraine are already heard in NATO during the war, then this means three things: NATO has assessed what Ukraine is worth, NATO is no longer afraid of Russia, the United States is launching a corresponding discussion regarding the future of the rapid accession of Ukraine to the Alliance.