Friday, June 09, 2006

Russia Warns Ukraine & Georgia of NATO

On Wednesday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Ukraine and Georgia of joining Nato. During a speech in the Russian State Duma, Lavrov argued that such a "colossal geopolitical" change would threaten relations with the two countries. "We assess all possible consequences primarily from the point of view of Russia's national interests," Lavrov said.

According to Ukrainian foregn minister, Anton Buteiko, a majority of Ukrainians support that Ukraine would join Nato. If Buteiko would be right, this would constitute an enormous change in Ukrainian public opinion. As late as last year, only some 10% of public opinion supported Nato-membership. Why public opinion may have turned is unclear, but it might be as a consequence of the New Year's Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis. As for Georgia, Tbilisi has for long had the ambition to join Nato, but it has been regarded unrealistic as long as it is not accompanied by a Ukrainian application to enter the North Atlantic alliance.

That Russia, at this point, warns of the consequences primarily of Ukrainian Nato-membership, is due to regional political developments, not least with GUAM's recent formation of the Organization for Democratic and Economic Development, combined with increasing US openness to accepting the two countries as members of Nato. In Moscow eyes, such tendencies form part of a much greater geopolitical struggle between Russia and the US for influence over post-soviet space - Russia's traditional sphere of vital national interest.

1 comment:

moonlitetwine said...

I agree with Russia, that Ukraine's entrance into NATO would be a possible, huge security issue for that nation. I'm seeing other possible countries being at odds with Ukraine's new decision, too. North Africa and Central Asia might be concerned with such a geo-political shift in Central Europe.

In my opinion, Turkey would be the first obvious supporter of Ukraine's entrance into NATO. This brings up another shift. I had thought that Ukraine would first try to warm up relations with the UN.

Personally, I feel this is a bold move for Ukraine. I see it as an action of a country which feels threatened. Not being a European, however, I don't know for certain the validity of Ukraine's fear of losing part if not all of its sovereignty. But, in my reading, I have noticed a can I say it...a new and possible thought of Ukrainians being more uncomfortable with regional problems.

I have long supported Ukraine's entrance into NATO and have long been poo-pooed for my desire by a good many Americans. May be the time is ripe.

I am sorry for Russia's possible loss of military alliance in the area. But, one can only speculate just how strong Ukraine's joining would be. It seems that Turkey often is at only slight odds with its close neighbors in matters of NATO interests, when those neighbors feel the curse come upon them from outsiders.

Delightful it will become to see the middle brother become stronger. At least, I hope such is the case. I pray for it in fact.