TitleNato and Russia need new security understanding
Published Date13 December 2021
The phrase “pawns on a chessboard” accurately reflects the reason for the present Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s border (Report, December 11). Although the headlines speak of a potential Russian invasion, the video call between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin showed the true Russian end goal for the current crisis. In the call it was agreed that major Nato countries would begin talks with Russia on security issues. Putin has indicated opposition to Ukraine becoming a member of Nato. In 2008, Nato promised membership to Ukraine. The annexation of the Crimea and the continued military conflict in eastern Ukraine makes this pledge unattainable in the near future. This reality would allow discussions, so that Ukraine’s Nato membership does not become a deal breaker. It could then pave the way for Nato and Russia to reach a security understanding, which could be put into a formal document. Nato would still be able to assert no one has a veto over any potential member. Also, a document restricted to security would avoid political declarations. It would allow the west to continue to reaffirm its support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The result would be the west’s best scenario for de-escalating the crisis, while keeping the door open to Ukraine for integration with the west.