NATO to treat Russia "more as adversary than partner"
Russia's "annexation of Crimea and its apparent manipulation of unrest in eastern Ukraine have fundamentally changed the NATO-Russia relationship."Source: Tanjug, AP, ITAR-TASS
This is according to Deputy Secretary-General of the western military alliance Alexander Vershbow.
NATO will have to treat Russia more as an adversary rather than a partner, he was quoted as saying.
“Clearly the Russians have declared NATO as an adversary, so we have to begin to view Russia no longer as a partner but as more of an adversary than a partner,” Vershbow said.
“In central Europe, clearly we have two different visions of what European security should be like," he said, and added that the alliance “still would defend the sovereignty and freedom of choice of Russia's neighbors."
He then accused Moscow of “trying to re-impose hegemony and limit their sovereignty under the guise of a defense of the Russian world.”
NATO suspended “practical civilian and military cooperation” with Moscow in April, Itar-Tass reported, but Russia maintained its diplomatic mission in Brussels open.
Vershbow said the alliance is considering deployment of additional forces in eastern Europe permanently or on a rotation basis, in particular, to strengthen the security of the Baltic states.
“We want to be sure that we can come to the aid of these countries if there were any, even indirect, threat,” he said.
Simon Saradzhyan, an expert on Russian security policy, said it's doubtful that Vershbow's view that Russia is now an adversary of the Western alliance will be embraced by NATO's other major powers.
He said he doubts Germany and France, which have substantial economic and business ties to Russia, would do so, the AP reported.
"If NATO were to officially designate Russia as an adversary, Moscow likely would retaliate by cutting off avenues of cooperation, including the use of Russian territory for the movement of war material in or out of Afghanistan," Saradzhyan, assistant director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said.