Russia

NATO Ceases Cooperation With Russia Amid Threats to Ukraine

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Tensions are high along Ukraine's eastern border as Russian troop movements hint at further military action. NATO, of which the U.S. is the largest supplier of both military personnel and funding, is now warning that Russia could stage an attack on Ukraine within three days. The alliance has responded to the perceived threat by suspending cooperation with Russia.

Reuters' Adrian Croft reports:

Calling the situation "incredibly concerning", NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but had no indication that this was part of a withdrawal to barracks.

[…]

The Russian force has aircraft and helicopter support as well as field hospitals and electronic warfare capabilities—"the entire suite that would be required to successfully have an incursion into Ukraine, should the decision be made," Breedlove said.

"We think it is ready to go and we think it could accomplish its objectives in between three and five days if directed to make the actions."

Estimates on the number of troops have been shaky. Ukrainian officials last week suggested there could be as many as 100,000 gearing up for an invasion. A different Reuters article noted earlier this week that the number appeared to be dropping, but explained that because "conscripts made up a large part of the Russian army … 'a certain number of conscripts could be stood down and swapped for others.'" Current estimates put it at 40,000.

Because of Russia's persistent aggression, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced yesterday:

We are suspending all practical cooperation with Russia, military and civilian. In the NATO-Russia Council, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the Partnership for Peace. At the same time we keep our diplomatic lines of communication open, and we are ready for ambassadorial or ministerial meetings in the NATO-Russia Council.

What will this cessation of cooperation look like? Although the organization hasn't divulged a specific plan, "the measures could include sending NATO soldiers and equipment to Eastern European allies, holding more exercises, ensuring NATO's rapid-reaction force could deploy more quickly, and reviewing NATO's military plans," explains Croft in another article.

For more Reason coverage of Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia, click here.

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  1. What if Putin invades the former Soviet states that are now part of NATO?

    Would Obama keep his treaty obligations, or would he fold?

    I’m thinking he’d fold, and I figure Putin is thinking the same thing.

    1. Faster than a card table.

      Nice alt-text, Z!

    2. Because without the US military, NATO is as useful as tits on a bull.

    3. We’re in a pickle if Putin decides to get aggressive. Our obligations to Ukraine are legally weak (the Budapest Memorandum doesn’t really say we have to come rushing to their rescue with military force), whatever the moral issues are with offering to guarantee their borders in exchange for giving up their nukes, but that doesn’t apply to NATO members. And if we repudiate NATO, then all bets are off in Europe.

      Not a good thing, and extra-special bad when we have an amazingly inept administration in power.

      1. And if we repudiate NATO, then all bets are off in Europe

        One can only hope.

        I would love to a fly on the wall when the heads of state of Germany, England and France sit in a room together after the US leaves NATO.

        “We have to cut entitlements to pay for our own military now?!?!?”

        1. “We have to talk together without the US playing ref?!?!? But we hate each other!!!”

    4. I don’t know, I think even Obama would be forced to respond. And since he’s an inept idiot, the response will likely be some kind of over reaction that he will then be stuck with, and no way out.

      1. He’ll show the Russians he means business by droning Syria. And in the interests of fairness, he will drone both rebel and government forces.

  2. I thought Gene Hackman was forced into retirement after that incident on the Alabama. I’m surprised to see he was rehired into the Air Force and assigned to NATO.

    1. NATO recognized his natural leadership skills in Hoosiers, but his eccentric charm in The Royal Tenenbaums sealed the deal.

  3. Vlad the Debt Collector is coming for the Ukraine.

  4. Meanwhile up in space, the Russians are walling off their section of the Space Station and eyeing the Italian module.

  5. Ukraine’s debt to Russia stands at $10 billion after severing Black Sea Fleet agreements
    http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/726064

    1. What debt? Russia stole the Crimea. I’d say they owe Ukraine money for reparations, if anything.

      1. The Crimean people knew what they were doing. Russia has money and Ukraine does not. Ukraine is headed for a financial crisis very soon because they cannot pay their debts.

  6. Does this also mean Russian/NATO cooperation when it comes to shipping NATO equipment in and out of Afganistan? I am betting that that will continue since its in both interest but more NATO then Russia

    Besides that I doubt there is not much lost except for some handshaking photo op exercises

  7. Is Ukraine part of NATO?

    Nope

    Should the US even be in NATO any more?

    Nope

    Can Europe afford, have the man power, and have the know how to defend itself.

    yup

    Why the fuck are we even discussing this bullshit?

    1. Good question.

      The reality is that sometime in 1995, when Russia was weak, we should have had a nice ceremony in Brussels, lowered the flag and said “been real” NATO should have been and frankly should be replaced by a purely European alliance with us not in it. Then the whole eastern expansion of the EU and NATO would not involve us.

      If NATO must exist, the membership drive needs to stop — It is bad enough that we are treaty bound to defend rich western European countries with set boarders far from any outside threat. We also have to defend eastern countries with fluid borders too?

      1. I would say the recruiting drive needs to step if, if we are to leave… get to a certain GDP and population level and say “2.5% of your GDP and a volunteer force only – you can do it”.

        But for now, we are in and should hope nothing starts up….I am not sure what Putin would get out a general war, frankly.

        1. Not that I at all want even a cold war with the Russians, but, assuming no one wants a nuclear exchange, Russia does not have a particularly powerful military. I don’t think Putin wants to test that against the U.S. or even, say, Germany. He’s having fun seeing how far he can go right now.

  8. Read an article, think it was on Lew Rockwell, where some reporters drove along the entire Russia-Ukraine border area and didn’t find much if any sign of troop buildups waiting to roll into Ukraine.

  9. How can 40,000 troops ‘mass’ on Russia-Ukraine border? That border is like 1400 miles long. Even if you made the number 240,000, it’d still be just a blip, rounding error. For example, when Hitler invaded USSR, he massed over 3 million troops over similarly sized border. Now that was massing. I mean, Ukraine is a country of 45 million people, and they freak out over 40,000? The orders of magnitude do not add up.

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