NATO gets serious after Putin pushes the limit

 Heavily armed Russian soldiers without insignia seen in Perevalnoye on March 4, 2014. Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

Heavily armed Russian soldiers without insignia seen in Perevalnoye on March 4, 2014. Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

With large scale provocations in Eastern Ukraine, NATO gets serious as Putin pushes the limit, NATO gets serious. Diplomatic channels with Russia are still open, but NATO has decided to counter Russia’s provocation by increasing it presence in Eastern Europe with more fighter jets, ground troops and ships to support NATO member states, which were former satellites of the Soviet Union.

Although the exact number of troops deployed by sea land an air has not been disclosed, Der Spiegel reports that Germany will be participating with one ship and six fighter jets.

NATO is responding to requests by the Baltic states, Lithuania, Estonia and Estonia. Poland and Romania have also requested increased presence. The U.S. currently has six fighter jets deployed forward and a ship in the Black Sea. That ship was buzzed by Russian fighter jets over the weekend, but appeared unarmed.

In the past 24 hours pro Russian militia has taken over government buildings in several Eastern Ukraine cities and overnight has taken over Armoured vehicles of Ukrainian forces. Russia claims that those were defections from Ukraine’s military.

How did it come to this

Putin is a former KGB Colonel, who believes that the demise of the Soviet Union is the cause of all of Russia’s ills. As he was planning his restoration of the Russian empire, he played nice during his first term as president. He moved Dimitry Medvedev into position to succeed him, while he quietly observed global events.

President Obama had just occupied the Oval Office and as an ideologue decided that he would deal with global leaders differently than George Bush. It started with Obama’s Cairo speech, followed by Hillary’s reset button with Russia. This resulted in President Obama cancelling the missile defence program for Poland and Romania.

President Putin watched red line after red line being crossed and doubted the seriousness of President Obama. He knew he held the trump card as far as energy for Western Europe was concerned. So he gambled. He looked like a good intermediary for the Syrian civil war, although he was protecting his access to a port in Syria. He also looked like a good broker to resolve the Iran nuclear crisis. All of this still remains to be seen.

Next came Crimea, which is now past history and the West has accepted its demise and annexation, although they called the referendum illegal. The same is true for Eastern Ukraine. While his special forces stir unrest in Eastern Ukraine cities, Putin is waiting for a response from the interim Ukrainian government that provides him with the excuse to intervene.

NATO has decided to act by forward deployment of some of its military assets. John Kerrry on behalf of President Obama has made statements of severe consequences, but none of these have been defined. It seems Angela Merkel has taken the bull by the horn and there will, indeed be some forward deployment of military assets.

The situation is fragile, with Europe`s dependence of Russia`s fossil fuels. Just as one thinks that Europe was done with wars, one can only hope that this fragile situation does not get out of control.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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1 Comment

  1. Good article Karl: seems to me, America asked Ukraine to get rid of their offensive weapons and we helped them dismantle their nukes and we told them they could count on us to defend them in event of hostilities… We have their back, we stand with Ukraine… Yeah right! What message are we sending to other countries? Don’t get rid of your defenses or offensive weapons, you can’t count on America

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