Over the last several years, the tensions between Europe and Russia have been increasing on topics ranging from trade to direct military confrontation.
It is well known, that a major part of gas and fossil energy used in Europe, originates from Russia and its controlled areas. It is also well known, that US has been planning to build a missile-defense shield all over the worldÂ - including areas bordering Russia. Russia has been complaining about the unjust situation that would follow such decisions.
However, instead of taking the argumentation to institutions like UN, NATO and others, it has started increasing tensions between the several major powers in the world.
This includes testing of ICBMs, announcements to introduce production of new and nuclear-capable fleets, changing the locations of the strategic missiles and Bills increasing spending on military production.
In the shadow of the US presidential election, the Russian president, Mr. Putin... oops, Mr. Medvedev, announced moving of short-distance missiles to Kaliningrad and plans to electronically start disturbing the missile-shield from there. As some might know, Kaliningrad is located near the centre of Europe and is a 'oblast' of Russia. Barely a couple of hundred of miles from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and capitals like Warzam, Oslo, Berlin - these are very alarming news.
Military bases have been established along our borders. The third ABM deployment area is being created in the territory of the Czech Republic and Poland. Yes, the number of antiballistic missiles will be limited, but what are they for, why are they deployed? And, again, what prevented the United States from consulting first with its allies?
Of course, none of these countries in themselves are any threat to Russia. But when a decision is taken in this way, without consultations, including with its partners in NATO and the EU, that is to say, without consultations within Europe, we cannot but have the impression that tomorrow could bring yet further decisions to deploy yet more missile defence systems. With this kind of unipolar decision-making process, there are no guarantees against this happening, no guarantees for the Russian Federation, in any case.Â Â Â
The Warsaw Treaty Organization ceased to exist twenty years ago, but to our regret at least, NATOâ€™s expansion continues full steam ahead. Today, NATO is actively discussing the admission of Georgia and Ukraine. Whatâ€™s more, it sees the issue in battle terms: admitting these countries would be victory over Russia, while keeping them out would be tantamount to capitulation.
But the real issue is that NATO is bringing its military infrastructure right up to our borders and is drawing new dividing lines in Europe, this time along our western and southern frontiers. No matter what we are told, it is only natural that we should see this as action directed against us. But the moment we try to point out that this is objectively contrary to Russiaâ€™s national security interests everyone starts getting nervous. How else are we to interpret this behaviour?
Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus and Russia's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Washington succeeded in its missile shield plans in Europe. Moscow also warned it could target its missiles on Poland.
Medvedev speech, translated: http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/text/speeches/2008/10/08/2159_type82912type82914_207457.shtml
This is something to follow, especially since it could extremely easily and rapidly turn into an international crisis.