Russia is risking all-out war to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO
Wednesday - 12/01/2022 10:48
Russia’s dealings — or, more accurately, its clashes — with the West have focused on one country that has been a particular flashpoint for confrontations in recent years: Ukraine.
Russia’s dealings — or, more accurately, its clashes — with the West have centered on one country which has been a particular flashpoint for confrontations in recent years: Ukraine.
It’s back in focus this week with a series of high-stakes meetings taking place between Russian and Western officials that are centered on trying to defuse heightened tensions between Russia and its neighbor.
A particular issue right now is whether Ukraine — something of a frontier country between Russia and the rest of Europe, and one which aspires to join the EU — could one day become a member of the Western military alliance NATO.
This is a possibility Russia vehemently opposes.
As the Russia Council prepares to meet NATO officials in Brussels on Wednesday, CNBC has a guide to why Russia cares so much about Ukraine and how far it might be willing to go to stop Ukraine from joining the alliance.
Why does Ukraine matter?
Relations between the European neighbors hit a low in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, and it has supported a pro-Russian uprising in the east of the country where low-level fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian troops has continued ever since.
Tensions have ratcheted up even further in recent months amid multiple reports of Russian troops amassing at the border with Ukraine, prompting widespread speculation that Russia is preparing to invade the country although it has repeatedly denied it is planning to do so.
Last month, Russia set out several main demands to the West on Ukraine, among other security matters, in a draft security pact.
In the document, it demanded that the U.S. must prevent further eastward expansion of NATO and must not allow former Soviet states to join the alliance.
Russia also demanded in the draft pact that the U.S. “shall not establish military bases” in the territories of any former Soviet states that are not already members of NATO, or “use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.”