NATO, Russia in high-level talks

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    In News

    • NATO and Russia’s high-level talks in Brussels as Ukraine tensions simmers. 

    About

    • The talks come during a week of high-stakes diplomacy and a U.S.-led effort to prevent preparations for what the US believes could be a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    • The NATO-Russia Council: their chief forum for talks was set up two decades ago but full meetings paused when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
      • It has met only sporadically since, the last time in 2019.

    Current Issue

    • Russia denies it is planning an attack: Still, its history of military action in Ukraine and Georgia worries NATO.
    • With around 100,000 combat-ready Russian troops: backed by tanks, artillery and heavy equipment massed just across Ukraine’s eastern border.
    • Endorsing such an agreement would require NATO to reject a key part of its founding treaty: Under Article 10 of the 1949 Washington Treaty, the organization can invite any willing European country that can contribute to security in the North Atlantic area and fulfill the obligations of membership.

    Russia’s stand

    • No new membership: NATO must not allow any new members to the U.S.-led military alliance and called for no new military bases to be established in ex-Soviet countries.
      • NATO would have to agree to halt all membership plans, not just with Ukraine, and scale down its presence in countries like Estonia close to Russia’s borders.
    • Tense moment: The publication of the draft agreements, an unusual step in international diplomacy, comes at a tense moment in Russia’s ties with the West.
    • Legal guarantees: Russia blames NATO for the rise in tensions, demanding “legal guarantees” the alliance won’t expand eastwards.
    • Limits on the deployment of missiles: It called for limits on the deployment of missiles and said that NATO members should “commit themselves to refrain from further enlargement” of the group.
    • Binding security guarantee: Russia wants NATO to provide Moscow with a binding security guarantee and withdraw its forces to positions they held before a wave of eastward expansion that began after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

    West’s stand

    • Troops: The West has accused Russia of preparing an imminent invasion, claiming Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s borders.
    • Negotiation: The U.S. pushed back at the Russian proposals, saying it would not negotiate without Europe’s input.

    Cause of Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

    • Shared history: 
      • Ukraine and Russia share hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic and familial links. 
      • As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was the second-most powerful Soviet republic after Russia, and was crucial strategically, economically and culturally. 
    • Emotional Exploitation of People:
      • For many in Russia and in the ethnically Russian parts of Ukraine, the shared heritage of the countries is an emotional issue that has been exploited for electoral and military purposes.
    • Balance of Power: 
      • Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the West have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.
    • Acts as a buffer: 
      • For the United States and the European Union, Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West. 
      • As tensions with Russia rise, the US and the EU are increasingly determined to keep Ukraine away from Russian control.

    India’s Stand

    • Backed Russia: During a UNSC meeting in 2021, India signaled its backing for traditional partner Russia on the Ukraine issue.
    • India has advocated political and diplomatic solutions: that protects the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensures long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond.
      • The path forward can only be through peaceful dialogue for a lasting solution acceptable to all concerned.
    • India voted against a Ukraine-sponsored resolution in the UN: that condemned alleged human rights violations in Crimea thereby backing old ally Russia on the issue.

    Way Ahead

    • Alliance: Russia and the alliance should work to “prevent incidents” in the Baltic’s and the Black Sea region.
    • A telephone hotline: should be established for “emergency contacts”.
    • International cooperation is needed: to solve the ever-increasing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
    • Restrain from any wrong move: Both the countries should restrain from any move leading to escalation of the tension.

    Source: TH