NATO-Russia Council Meeting

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    • Recently, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Russia discussed the ongoing situation in Ukraine and its implications for security in Europe.

    About

    • These talks happened at the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) which took place at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. 
      • NRC is a forum for consultation with Russia on security issues and cooperation.
    • Since April 2014, practical civil and military cooperation under the NRC with Russia has been suspended. 
    • This happened in response to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, which NATO allies do not recognise and have referred to as “illegal” and “illegitimate”.
    • This was the first time since WWII that a European nation had annexed territory from another country. 
    • The region that Russia annexed in 2014 is now under Russian-backed separatists and even today fighting continues there.

    NATO Russia Council (NRC)

    • Established: 
      • The NATO-Russia Council (NRC), was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002. 
      • It replaced the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), a forum for consultation and cooperation created by the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which remains the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. 
    • Purpose: 
      • The (NRC) is a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action, in which the individual NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest. 
    • Different from bilateral meets: 
      • The spirit of meetings has dramatically changed under the NRC, in which Russia and NATO member states meet as equals “at 29” in areas of common interest – instead of in the bilateral “NATO+1” format under the PJC.
    • Legality: 
      • The NRC was established by the 2002 Rome Declaration on “NATO-Russia Relations: a New Quality”, which builds on the goals and principles of the 1997 Founding Act. 
      • Its purpose is to serve as the principal structure and venue for advancing the relationship between NATO and Russia.
    • Equal partners: 
      • In accordance with the Rome declaration, NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners in areas of common interest in the framework of the NRC, which provides a mechanism for consultation consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action on a wide spectrum of security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region. 
      • The members of the NRC, acting in their national capacities and in a manner consistent with their respective collective commitments and obligations, take joint decisions and bear equal responsibility, individually and jointly for their implementation.

    Russia’s stand

    • 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.
    • The publication of the draft agreements — an unusual step in international diplomacy — comes at a tense moment in Russia’s ties with the West.
    • Russia blames NATO for the rise in tensions, demanding “legal guarantees” the alliance won’t expand eastwards.
    • 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.

    West’s stand

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

    Reasons of the Issue

    • Latest: 
      • Intelligence Reports say Russia has moved 70,000 troops to its border with Ukraine and is preparing for a possible invasion early next year. 
      • Moscow denies any intention to attack and accuses Ukraine of planning an offensive to reclaim control of rebel-held eastern Ukraine.
    • Background: 
      • Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine began after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. 
      • It has killed over 14,000 people and devastated Ukraine’s industrial heartland, known as the Donbas.

    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: IE