Editorial, Opinion – The Russian leadership has recalled its ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) two days after its member countries suspended cooperation with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Russian state media reported.
Gen. Valery Yevnevich will return to Moscow in light of NATO’s actions, said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov. Antonov protested what he considered NATO’s ‘policy of whipping up tensions’. He says this is the reason why Russia “see no possibility to continue military cooperation with NATO”.
This is a delicate development since Russia is questioning NATO steps to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has asked NATO about its alleged plans to strengthen its defences also in Eastern Europe
Russia’s move to annex the Crimea region from Ukraine last month has sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. The West deems Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region as illegal. Responding to criticism from Kiev and the West over the presence of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, Lavrov however said Russia had the right to move forces on its territory and said they would return to their permanent bases after completing military exercises.
NATO has warned that Russian troops could begin moving on Ukraine within 12 hours of being given an order. There are 40,000 troops massed near the Russian border.
All in all, Russia’s troop movements near Ukraine have been viewed as a statement of a new Russian policy of extending its hand into other territories near it borders. World wars have been sparked by national territorial annexations, history repeatedly tells us.
With the geopolitical situation in the Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Israel regions not panning out according to planners in Obama’s Whitehouse, the recent policy shifts by China in the West Philippine Sea, North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, and now by Russia in Crimea, the world is looking at how the US will try to stabilize peace in these areas and respond to challenges against the West’s capacity to maintain the status quo.
Let us just hope that these excursions by Russia and China will not lead the world into another kind of cold war. The signs are disturbing. The guns have been drawn and a single shot is all that is needed to be taken.