Russia-Ukraine Tensions

Context:

  • Amid the rising tensions over Russia’s military buildup around Ukraine, NATO allies have put forces on standby and sent ships and fighter jets to bolster Europe’s eastern defences.

Background:

  • Tensions between Ukraine and Russia, both former Soviet states, escalated in late 2013 over a landmark political and trade deal with the European Union.
  • After the pro-Russian then-President, Viktor Yanukovych, suspended the talks, weeks of protests in Kiev erupted into violence.
  • Then, in March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, an autonomous peninsula in southern Ukraine with strong Russian loyalties, on the pretext that it was defending its interests and those of Russia.

Issue:

  • Russia stated that only if NATO withdraws their forces from all countries in Europe that joined the alliance after May 1997, would they de-escalate the military build-up.
  • This would effectively mean that NATO cannot operate in any of the Baltic nations that border Russia (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania), central European states such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech republic, and Balkan states such as Croatia and Slovenia.
  • Russia also wants NATO to drop plans of any further ‘enlargement’, which means committing to not accepting Ukraine and Georgia as members. Another demand is that NATO must not hold drills in eastern Europe, Ukraine and Georgia without prior approval from Russia.
About NATO:
  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance which was established by Washington treaty.
  • Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • Headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.
Composition:
  • Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.
  • NATO membership is open to “any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Source: THE HINDU.

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