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Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

NATO, you lover boy!

Posted by Kris Roman on June 30, 2009

nato_devilPravda.ru

The Secretary General of NATO and Russia’s envoy to the alliance have voiced their differences on family relations in Central Asia.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s representative in the Russia-NATO council, lashed out at the Partnership for Peace program, saying it was a vehicle to drag new countries in NATO, and now it has outlived itself.The two officials were speaking with journalists in the Kazakh capital Astana, which hosts the security forum of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, NATO’s structure for relations with European and Asian non-members of the alliance.

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NATO must not be the base of European security, Russia believes

Posted by Kris Roman on June 24, 2009

NATO-CLASS_A512Cartoon : Steve Bell 2008

Pravda.ru

The Conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) opened in Austria. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged the West to accept the suggestion from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the new European Security Treaty which would include the principles of disarmament and regulation of conflicts.

“It goes about the concept of security based on cooperation, which is a fundamental concept for the entireEuro-Atlantic region. Everyone recognized the concept long ago, but it has never been possible to materialize it. The idea of the new treaty gives us another chance,” Sergey Lavrov said at the conference in Vienna.

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Russia to take measures in response if NATO rattles its weapons near Russia’s borders

Posted by Kris Roman on April 21, 2009

Russia will not take part in the meeting with senior NATO military officials in the event the alliance does not cancel its military drills in Georgia. The drills are slated to take place from May 6 to June 1, 20 kilometers off Tbilisi.

“If there is no reaction, we will take certain steps. But I can say one thing now: the meeting of Russia-NATO Council chiefs will not take place on May 7,” Dmitry Rogozin, a Russian presidential envoy said in an interview with Vesti 24 TV channel. He added that the meeting of Russia-NATO Council ambassadors will take place as it was previously scheduled – on April 29.

Rogozin said that he had already sent a letter to NATO’s Secretary General, in which he explained the reasons why the military drills should be either canceled or take place at another location. First and foremost, Russia and NATO have not resumed their military cooperation yet. “Any rattling of weapons near Russia’s borders will lead to a negative reaction,” Rogozin added.

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Sikorski: Russia in Nato? Why Not

Posted by Kris Roman on March 31, 2009

Radosław Sikorski Radosław Sikorski

We need Russia to address European and global issues. That is why, if she met the conditions, Russia could be in the Nato, Radosław Sikorski said yesterday.

The Polish foreign minister delivered the opening lecture of the Copernican Debate at Toruń University. 

‘Even though so ideologically and culturally diverse, Europe is a single organism’, he said. ‘That is why every country in its foreign policy has to consider the different developments from a regional as well as a global perspective.’

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NATO agrees to restart of top level talks with Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on March 10, 2009

nato_devilNATO agreed Thursday to resume high-level talks with Russia, ending a seven-month freeze sparked by Moscow’s decision to send troops into Georgia in August.

After overcoming staunch objections from Lithuania, NATO foreign ministers agreed to restart the so-called NATO-Russia Council after the alliance’s summit on April 3-4.

“Ministers reached agreement to formally resume the NATO-Russia Council, including at ministerial level,” alliance Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters after chairing the talks in Brussels.

He gave no date or venue for the restart, but said it should happen “as soon as possible after the summit” to mark NATO’s 60th anniversary in Strasbourg, France, and the neighbouring German city of Kehl.

Despite the move, Scheffer underlined: “We have quite a number of areas where we have fundamental differences of opinion and where we think Russia should change its opinion.”

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France in NATO: What would de Gaulle say?

Posted by Kris Roman on February 22, 2009

de_gaulle-owiA betrayal of General de Gaulle’s independent foreign policy, or a timely rejection of knee-jerk anti-Americanism? France’s imminent return to NATO’s command structure has triggered fierce debate.

While the move will make little difference on the battlefield — French forces have long played a key role in NATO missions from Afghanistan to the Balkans — its symbolic quality has ruffled France’s political class.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has made it clear that he will confirm France’s formal return to NATO’s military command before the Alliance’s summit in Strasbourg and Kehl on the Franco-German border on April 4.

According to some critics, the nominally Gaullist Sarkozy is turning his back on a proud legacy created by President Charles de Gaulle in 1966, when France left NATO in order to establish a proper distance from Washington.

Others argue that a nuclear-armed France is already a de facto pillar of the alliance and would have more influence on policy from within NATO’s chain of command than it has simply sitting on its political councils.

“This has gone beyond a rational debate, we are caught up in symbolism,” warned Yves Boyer, from the Strategic Research Foundation.

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NATO urges Ukraine military reform despite crisis

Posted by Kris Roman on February 20, 2009

NATO nations urged Ukraine Friday to keep up the pace of military reform needed to join their alliance despite being badly hit by the global economic downturn. “Allies are aware that the financial and economic crisis that has also hit Ukraine very hard is having an effect on Ukrainian reforms,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after defence ministers’ talks in Poland. “Ministers encouraged Ukraine to keep up the effort including with the necessary resources, difficult as that may be, because an inefficient and antiquated defence and security sector will cost Ukraine much more in the long run,” he told reporters. “Times are dire in this regard, nevertheless it is important to continue,” Scheffer said after the meeting in Krakow, which involved talks with Ukrainian Defence Minister Yuri Yekhanurov. Ukraine is striving to join NATO — a move its public largely disapproves of — but has been particularly badly hit by the global economic crisis. The former Soviet republic’s crucial steel sector has suffered from a sharp slowdown in global demand for the metal, its banks have been struck by the credit crunch and its currency has halved in value against the dollar. The IMF in November granted Ukraine a 16.4-billion-dollar loan but a second tranche of the loan worth 1.9 billion dollars has been held up amid political infighting in Ukraine that led to the finance minister’s resignation last week.

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NATO considers permanent force for eastern Europe

Posted by Kris Roman on February 20, 2009

nato-headquarters-brussels-belgium-bgNATO is examining whether to set up a permanent military force in eastern Europe to encourage regional allies to send combat troops to Afghanistan, the alliance’s top civilian official said Friday.

The idea, proposed by Britain to ease concerns in eastern Europe about Russian belligerence since its war with Georgia, would see 3,000 troops drawn from the NATO Response Force, a contingent for use in the world’s hotspots.

“I got a positive reception from many around the table on this idea,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters in Krakow, southern Poland, after informal talks between allied defence ministers.

He said that top alliance commander US General John Craddock “will now elaborate ideas on the NATO Response Force in conjunction with this solidarity force.”

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Russia trains to fight NATO

Posted by Kris Roman on October 14, 2008

tu-160-blackjack-front-bgThe Stability-2008 strategic maneuvers of the Russian armed forces are gaining momentum. On Monday, Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear-H and Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers began training flights with full combat payloads and the live firing of cruise missiles at practice targets.

The Stability-2008 strategic exercise, which began Sept. 21 in Russian and Belarusian territory and at sea, is the largest since the Soviet era. Within the next month the armed forces will be practicing a wide variety of tasks, including containing armed conflicts and strategic deterrence. In total, the drill will feature tens of thousands of servicemen, thousands of vehicles, air and naval forces, space troops and strategic nuclear forces.

The exercise is remarkable not only for its scale but also its character. The Russian and Belarusian armed forces practice operations both in simulated local conflict and in full-scale warfare, involving aggressive fighting for air superiority, missile defense, naval warfare and strategic strikes.

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Schroder: Georgia in NATO May Spark War With Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on September 27, 2008

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder warned NATO on Thursday that allowing aspiring member Georgia, with its “unpredictable” leader, to join the defense alliance could lead to an armed conflict with Russia. 

Schroder, a close personal friend of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said he had been shocked at the one-sided approach Western nations had taken in their dealings with Russia over its conflict with Georgia. 

“Whoever brings Georgia into NATO must know that in light of — I will put this politely — the unpredictable nature of the current leadership and an encirclement policy [toward Russia], which is supported by the United States — NATO could end up getting entangled in a conflict,” SchrЪder said. 

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Russia laughs at NATO’s face

Posted by Kris Roman on September 27, 2008

http://english.pravda.ru

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, believes that Georgia will not be able to join the Membership Action Plan in December. The official added that the recent statements from NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer marked the beginning of a cold war between the alliance and the European Union.

 

A NATO delegation with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the head arrived in Georgia with a two-day visit on Monday. The delegation consisted of officials representing all 26 countries of the alliance. The session of the NATO-Georgia committee became the key event of the visit. Scheffer arrived in Georgia to find out if Georgia was successfully meeting the requirements to obtain the status of a NATO membership candidate.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited South Ossetia yesterday too, which, as Brussels believes, was not a mere coincidence.

The visit of the official delegation of NATO to Tbilisi is taking place on the threshold of the informal meeting of defense ministers of the alliance, which is slated to take place in London on September 18-19. The situation in the Caucasus will become one of the central issues on the agenda of the meeting. Scheffer was discussing the question with the Georgian administration too (including President Saakashvili), as well as with spokespeople for the opposition and international organizations.

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Brussels must veto Georgia NATO bid – Belgian MPs

Posted by Kris Roman on September 25, 2008

 

Belgium should veto Georgia’s bid to join NATO after its attack on breakaway South Ossetia last month, senior Belgian lawmakers said on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference following a fact-finding trip to South Ossetia, Josi Dubie said: “We must by all means prevent Georgia from becoming a NATO member due to its belligerent and aggressive policy. We do not want to be part of that policy.”

Fellow senator, Christine Defraigne, who also visited the region, said admitting Georgia to the military alliance would be “reckless and insane.”

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Russia’s envoy mocks NATO rapid-response force plans

Posted by Kris Roman on September 22, 2008

 

Russia’s envoy to NATO dismissed on Monday the military alliance’s plans to create a rapid-response force to be deployed in member states that feel threatened by Moscow.

Dmitry Rogozin called the plan a “noisemaker,” and said it was nothing but part of the ‘arsenal of weapons’ used in the current U.S. presidential campaign.

NATO defense ministers considered at an informal meeting in London on September 18-19 the creation of a rapid-response force that could be deployed to threatened member states.

The Russian envoy said the idea was destined to fail as there was no major European country that feels threatened by Russia.

“I am very skeptical about this idea,” Rogozin said, going on to say that the idea was “a distraction from the real work of the rapid-response forces.”

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NATO plans rapid-reaction force to counter “Russian aggression”

Posted by Kris Roman on September 20, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

NATO defense ministers considered at a meeting in London the creation of a rapid-response force to be sent into a country that feels threatened by Russia, the Los Angeles Times said.

The United States and other Western powers have criticized Russia for what they called an invasion of Georgia. Moscow said it was a response to Georgia’s offensive to retake breakaway South Ossetia in early August. Tbilisi claimed Russian troops were sent to topple President Mikheil Saakashvili.

“The deployment force being considered would be small, light and defensive in nature,” the newspaper said Friday citing an unidentified senior U.S. defense official.

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Russia accuses NATO of encouraging further Georgian aggression

Posted by Kris Roman on September 17, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that NATO’s drive to strengthen ties with Georgia is effectively encouraging the Tbilisi regime to carry out new acts of aggression in the future.

Georgia’s goal of NATO membership and U.S. support for Georgia’s military have been major sources of tension with Russia in recent years. Russia accused NATO of rearming Georgia after last month’s conflict over South Ossetia, and has threatened to fully sever ties with the Western alliance.

“We can only regard the alliance’s moves to strengthen relations with Georgia as encouraging Tbilisi to carry out more reckless acts,” the ministry said, following a two-day visit to Tbilisi by a top-level NATO delegation.

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Romania favours NATO missile shield in EU, Balkans

Posted by Kris Roman on September 13, 2008

 

Romania favours a NATO missile shield to protect European Union member-states from “third country” threats, the Romanian defence minister said during a visit to Greece on Thursday.

“NATO should plan for… a missile shield to protect all European Union countries, including Bulgaria, Greece and Romania,” Teodor Melescanu told reporters after talks with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Meimarakis.

“We have discussed that (Romania) can also cooperate in such a project in the future,” he said according to a Greek defence ministry statement.

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Finnish foreign minister moots NATO membership

Posted by Kris Roman on September 13, 2008

Russia’s incursion into Georgia is reason for Finland to consider ending its policy of neutrality and join NATO, its foreign minister Alexander Stubb was quoted Saturday as saying. “The moment to take a decision (to join the transatlantic alliance) has yet to come, but we have to be flexible and to quickly adapt our security policy,” Stubb told Die Presse, an Austrian newspaper. Norway, Denmark and Iceland are currently the only Nordic countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Those who think that what happened this month in Georgia has no impact on Finland’s security are “living on another planet,” given the 1,340-kilometre (835-mile) border that Finland and Russia share. Neutral throughout the Cold War and in the years that followed, Finland inched closer to NATO in March when it announced its intention to join future operations of the alliance’s rapid reaction force. Finnish President Tarja Halonen, who has the final say on foreign and security policy, acknowledged in Die Presse that the crisis in the Caucasus was proof that “dormant conflicts can quickly wake up”. Stubb went last week to Georgia — which is keen to join NATO — in his role as chairman in office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to oversee the deployment of military observers.

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Belgium cancels warship visit to Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on September 12, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

Belgium has cancelled an official visit by one of its warships to Russia, a source in the Russian Navy said on Friday.

The Belgian F931 Louise-Marie frigate was scheduled to visit a naval base in St. Petersburg on September 12-15.

“Belgium has sent us a note saying that despite friendly relations between Belgium and Russia NATO has recommended that the country cancel the visit due to the current political crisis,” the source said.

The current crisis in relations between Russia and NATO began when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia on August 8, triggering a Russian operation to “force Georgia to peace.” Most residents of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, have Russian citizenship.

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Gorbachev says NATO growth aimed at isolating Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on September 8, 2008

 

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that calls from the U.S. and other Western powers to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO are purely aimed at isolating Russia.

“Why does NATO need these countries? To fight against Iran? This is just ridiculous,” Gorbachev told Spanish agency EFE.

NATO refused at its summit in April to let Georgia and Ukraine into the Membership Action Plan, a key step for membership in the 26-nation alliance, but promised to review the decision in December. The countries had received strong U.S. backing for their bids.

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NATO continues to build up naval presence in Black Sea

Posted by Kris Roman on September 3, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

NATO is continuing to strengthen its naval task force in the Black Sea, a Turkish military source said on Wednesday.

“A U.S. Pathfinder ship has entered the Black Sea,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS 60) is an oceanographic survey ship owned by Military Sealift Command and has a civilian crew and scientists on board.

However, a Russian military source told RIA Novosti that ships of the Pathfinder class could be used for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering purposes.

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U.S. warship leaves Sevastopol after protests

Posted by Kris Roman on September 2, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas left Sevastopol Tuesday morning after anti-NATO protests in Ukraine’s Crimean port. (U.S. Coastguard cutter Dallas enters Sevastopol Harbor – video)

The Dallas, which recently delivered humanitarian aid to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, docked on Monday at the Crimean port, where Russia has a naval base, at the invitation of Kiev.

The ship’s arrival was met by thousands of anti-NATO protesters chanting “Yankees go home!” and waving banners with the slogan “NATO Stop!” Police cordoned off the area around the ship.

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NATO Has No Moral Right To Judge As Putin Assails US Over Georgia

Posted by Kris Roman on September 2, 2008

NATO has repeatedly ignored the United Nations and international law and has “no moral right” to judge Russia for its decision to recognise two rebel Georgian regions, the Russian foreign ministry said Friday.

“In recent years, NATO has on several occasions, demonstratively, ignored the UN charter and other norms of international law,” foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

“So it has no moral right to the role of mentor in matters of international relations and to judge the actions of other states,” he said.

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U.S. warship met by anti-NATO protests in Ukraine’s Sevastopol

Posted by Kris Roman on September 1, 2008

 

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, which arrived on Monday morning at the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol where Russia has a naval base, has refused to go ashore amid anti-NATO protests, customs officers said. (U.S. Coastguard cutter Dallas enters Sevastopol Harbor – video)

The Dallas, which recently delivered humanitarian aid to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, docked at the Crimean port on the invitation of Kiev.

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Georgia hides behind NATO warship

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

http://english.pravda.ru

A U.S. military ship carrying humanitarian aid docked at the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi on Wednesday, avoiding the port of Poti, which is still controlled by Russian forces

 

The U.S. embassy changed its version of events several times in the last 24 hours. At first, it announced Tuesday that its aid ship would dock Wednesday at Poti. Then early Wednesday, the embassy said that plans had changed, and the ship would dock at Batumi.

 

Later in the day, the U.S. Embassy retracted its earlier statement that an aid ship would dock in Poti. The spokesperson would not allow their name to be used.

 

 

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Terrorist NATO: Winning hearts and minds through massacres

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY
PRAVDA.Ru

Euro-Rus in English : https://eurorus4en.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/terrorist-nato-winning-hearts-and-minds-through-massacres/

Afghanistan, Friday. Around a hundred civilians, many of them women and children, have been slaughtered in another NATO terrorist attack, at first denied and now admitted by the US Armed Forces after a callous attempt to downplay the tremendous carnage caused by another bombardment which went tragically wrong.


Burnt children after a NATO bomb attack. Their disfigured faces are the real face of war. (Photo : http://www.rawa.org)

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Terrorist NATO: Winning hearts and minds through massacres

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY
PRAVDA.Ru

Afghanistan, Friday. Around a hundred civilians, many of them women and children, have been slaughtered in another NATO terrorist attack, at first denied and now admitted by the US Armed Forces after a callous attempt to downplay the tremendous carnage caused by another bombardment which went tragically wrong.

The North Atlantic Terrorist Organization has committed yet another spectacular massacre in Afghanistan. Bullseye! A direct hit on a number of civilian houses in the village of Azizabad, Herat Province in Western Afghanistan on Friday. Eye witnesses report that the damage is massive and the victims were gathered together in a funeral wake.


Burnt children after a NATO bomb attack. Their disfigured faces are the real face of war. (Photo : http://www.rawa.org)

The US Armed Forces initially denied responsibility for this blatant act of terrorism, then started to issue disinformation, as is the norm, saying that 30 militants had been killed in a military operation in the area. Now they admit the “loss of life”. What next? Will they use Israel’s excuse during its massacres in the Lebanon (which the Bush regime failed to condemn once) and say “Well, they shouldn’t have been there, should they?” Or will they simply ignore the facts, as the Bush regime did when Saakashvili’s Georgian US-trained armed forces slaughtered 2.000 Russian civilians in one night and Bush and Rice did not have the decency to mention this one single time?

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NATO repeating Soviet mistake in Afghanistan

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov

The recent events in Afghanistan have again called into question the effectiveness and professionalism of NATO and the anti-terrorist coalition in that country.

First, a French task force from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was ambushed, and lost 10 soldiers. Last Friday, on August 22, more than 70 civilians were killed during an operation in the Shindand District in the Herat Province. The media reported that this operation was conducted by the coalition forces, that is, the U.S. Air Force. This event set the whole country in turmoil. Now Afghan President Hamid Karzai insists on revising the status of international forces in the country.

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NATO helps Georgia restore air defenses, ups Black Sea presence

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

NATO is helping to restore Georgia’s air defenses and has deployed 10 warships in the Black Sea, with another eight expected soon, the deputy chief of the Russian General Staff said Tuesday.

“Measures are being taken with assistance from NATO experts to create facilities for airspace control and to restore airfields,” Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said.

He also expressed bewilderment at the “increased activity of NATO’s naval forces… in the Black Sea.”

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NATO – the paper alliance

Posted by Kris Roman on August 28, 2008

John Laughland for RIA Novosti

As the dust settles on the conflict in South Ossetia – and as it vanishes progressively from the headlines in the Western press – one thing has become overwhelmingly clear. It is that Georgia will now never join NATO and that the balance of power in the world has therefore shifted radically as a result of this little six-day war.

During the conflict, many people in the Russian media (and in the country at large) seemed obsessed with the negative coverage of Russia’s position in the Western media. It is certainly true that the media all over Western Europe and North America gave heavy prominence to the Georgian position and was very anti-Russian in tone. It is also true that this negative coverage comes after a long period of deterioration in relations between Russia and the West, which seemed to reach a new peak just after the South Ossetian conflict when Condoleezza Rice travelled to Warsaw to sign the agreement to station the new anti-missile shield in Poland.

On the other hand, while much political reality can be created (or at least influenced) by the virtual reality of TV, it is an inescapable truth of human history that the key questions of politics – especially the one about who has the right to rule – are usually decided by force. In the case of South Ossetia, the West’s blandishments against Moscow – whose hypocrisy must be very irritating for Russia’s leaders – are in fact nothing but psychological compensation for the fact that Western leaders know, in their heart of hearts, that they cannot and will not fight Russia over Georgia.

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Bush’s Unrealistic Response to Georgia Conflict

Posted by Kris Roman on August 26, 2008

By Patrick Basham

“The New American Realism” is the title of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent article in Foreign Affairs, the influential policy journal. But there is little that is realistic about the American response to the conflict in the Caucasus.

Both President Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain are unambiguous in their condemnation of Russia’s military aggression and in their support of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. In domestic political terms, the crisis played into McCain’s hands because he does “tough” so well. Unfortunately, “tough” is not the best move in this particular diplomatic chess match because it ignores two realities.

First and foremost, the U.S. is in neither a political nor a logistical position to expend blood and treasure in Russia’s backyard. Tuesday’s emergency meeting of NATO ministers begs the question, what can NATO actually do about the Georgia conflict? Beyond bold rhetoric and diplomatic gesturing that won’t bother Moscow, there is really very little than NATO can do.

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NATO sends more ships into Black Sea – preparing war ?

Posted by Kris Roman on August 23, 2008

NATO has sent a Polish frigate and a U.S. destroyer through the Bosporus to boost its presence in the Black Sea, where it is delivering humanitarian cargoes to Georgia, a source in the Turkish navy said.
“Two more NATO ships passed through the strait and entered the Black Sea on Friday evening,” the source told RIA Novosti.

The deputy head of Russia’s General Staff said the Navy was aware that NATO was strengthening its presence in the sea.

“The situation in the Black Sea is escalating. NATO is continuing to build up its naval presence in the area,” Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn told reporters Saturday.

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Russia temporarily suspends military cooperation with NATO

Posted by Kris Roman on August 22, 2008

Russia’s Defense Ministry has temporarily suspended military cooperation with NATO ahead of a political decision being made, the Russian envoy to the alliance said on Thursday.

“Cooperation with NATO is a complex issue, and until Russia’s political leaders have made a decision on what is involved, the Defense Ministry has suspended military cooperation with the alliance,” Dmitry Rogozin said.

Rogozin will return to Moscow on Friday for discussions with the country’s leadership on cooperation with the military alliance.

“I think all major decisions on our cooperation with NATO will be made during the consultations,” the envoy said.

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Moscow’s NATO envoy says cooperation still on track

Posted by Kris Roman on August 20, 2008

Russia-NATO cooperation is not at risk and it would be wrong to scale down the strategic partnership between Russia and the West amid global instability, Moscow’s envoy to the military alliance has said.

NATO foreign ministers said after talks on Tuesday that the alliance was freezing contacts with Russia until it pulls its troops out of Georgia, but stopped short of stronger measures against Moscow.

“The parties have acted pragmatically. There are no plans to wreck our cooperation,” Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

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Russia warns Lithuania on US missile defense

Posted by Kris Roman on July 6, 2008

Russian lawmakers warned Lithuania against agreeing to place U.S. missile defense sites in the Baltic country, saying Wednesday that such a move could trigger a Russian military buildup in the region.

Russia could deploy more troops to its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad if Lithuania offers its soil for the deployment of U.S. missile interceptors, said a statement approved unanimously by the Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas was in Washington on Wednesday for talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he did not know if the two were discussing the possibility of placing missile-defense components in the former Soviet country on Russia’s northern border.

But on Tuesday, the Pentagon had said Lithuania would be a “good alternative” to Poland if negotiations with Warsaw collapse. Poland has demanded increased U.S. military aid in exchange for approving the deal.

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NATO should collapse just like the USSR did, Putin believes

Posted by Kris Roman on June 6, 2008

Pravda.ru

Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to France, which ended May 30, left European mass media in mixed feelings. Respectable newspapers, like Britain’s The Times or Switzerland’s Neue Zurcher Zeitung, wrote in their articles that Putin had received an inappropriate welcome in Paris, which did not match his official position of the prime minister. European journalists were surprised to see that Putin’s meeting with his French counterpart Francois Fillon was held without reporters. To crown it all, President Sarkozy invited Putin for private dinner.

Western journalists believe that Putin arrived in Paris to discuss not only common issues of economic cooperation, but also issues of foreign politics, which are generally not included in the powers of a prime minister. However, Putin strictly adhered to the official protocol of foreign visits during his public appearances in Paris.

A recent issue of Le Monde newspaper, which published an exclusive interview with Vladimir Putin, dotted all the “i”s on the matter.

Who rules Russia, Medvedev or Putin? That was one of the first questions which French journalists asked Putin. The Russian prime minister replied that there was no ambiguity in the question at all. “Politicians execute certain functions and remain human beings at that. First and foremost, I deal with economic and social issues. However, as a member of Russia’s Security Council, I am pertinent to the questions that we discussed with the President of France,” Putin said.

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NATO opponents and supporters clash in Ukraine

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

Opponents and US-payed supporters of Ukraine’s entry into NATO have clashed in Crimea’s largest city of Simferopol.

 

Police tried to separate the two parties, which were holding simultaneous meetings in the central square of the city. However, verbal abuse triggered a fight involving about 150 people.

The NATO opponents, mostly communists, threw tomatoes, eggs and cartons of juice at their rivals. They were carrying posters, which read ‘NATO Is War Against Slavs’.

 

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Is Russia fuelling anti-NATO campaign in Ukraine?

Posted by Kris Roman on May 4, 2008

http://www.russiatoday.ru

According to the latest poll, in just three months some 10 per cent of Ukrainians have changed their mind about the country’s strategic plans to join NATO. At a recent summit, the alliance decided not to hand Ukraine a roadmap for entry, citing public opposition as one of the reasons. Some believe that a Russian hand is behind the slump in pro-NATO opinion.

Ukraine’s authorities are doing little to reverse the trend. Most Ukrainians are wary of breaking ties with Moscow in order to join the block of former Cold War enemies.

Vadim Karasev, a political analyst, says Russia is behind the negative trend.

“When President Putin said that Russian missiles could be pointed at Ukraine, it made our people stop and think. Then these never-ending gas wars recurring yearly, and finally some statements that the Crimea is historically Russian land, which should be returned if NATO expands further,” he said.

Only a few believe NATO could bring economic prosperity and improve living standards in Ukraine.
 
The Democratic Initiatives Fund, a pro-western NGO campaigning for European integration, discovered in its latest opinion poll that the already small number of those wanting to join the alliance has fallen even more.

Along with this survey, the agency launched an information campaign aimed at rebuffing some of the stereotypes about NATO.

In leaflets they explain that the alliance did not start the war in Iraq, that Ukrainian soldiers will not fight there unless their government orders them to, and that relations with Russia will only get better should the country join the alliance.

To learn what Ukrainians think about NATO membership click the VIDEO button on the right.

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Georgian policy toward Russia provocative – Russian envoy to NATO Rogozin

Posted by Kris Roman on April 29, 2008

Tbilisi is behaving in a provocative manner toward Russia over the issue of Georgia’s breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia’s envoy to NATO said Monday.

“Georgia is behaving in a provocative way. One gets the impression that someone irresponsible is seeking a pretext for a war,” Dmitry Rogozin said.

Georgia claims that on April 20 a Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter from the Gudauta military base in Abkhazia, where Russian peacekeepers have been stationed since the end of a bloody conflict in the early 1990s, shot down a Georgian drone.

The incident came after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calls earlier this month for closer ties with Georgia’s two breakaway provinces, and has plunged relations between Moscow and Tbilisi to a new low. Putin’s statement provoked an angry response from Tbilisi, with Georgia’s foreign minister accusing Russia of attempting “to annex” the two republics.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Georgia is looking to regain control over the two republics.

Ex-Soviet breakaway regions have stepped up their drive for self-rule since Kosovo’s declaration of independence on February 17. Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova’s Transdnestr, have since asked Russia’s parliament, the UN and other organizations to recognize their independence.

Valery Kenyaikin, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s ambassador at large, said on April 25 that Russia would do everything possible to protect the interests of Russian citizens living in Georgia’s breakaway republics.

“We will not leave our citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in difficulty and this should be clearly understood… We will do everything possible to avert a military conflict.” He also added however that Russia would “have to use military force,” if the need arose.

Alexander Torshin, a deputy speaker at the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Monday that this statement “should be interpreted as a warning against adventurism.”

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NATO is Ukraine’s Catastrophe

Posted by Kris Roman on April 10, 2008

 

The visit to Ukraine of US president G.Bush is over. A number of bilateral documents were signed, in particular, “the road map” of US–Ukrainian cooperation that defined priorities of their short-time interaction. But different issues keep the attention of the world and Ukrainian public glued on, including other run-of-the-mill documents defining the USA and Ukraine mutual relations. What they focus on is the fact of the visit of head of US White House to Ukraine as such.

The visit of US president to Kiev right before the NATO summit in Bucharest was one of the empty body language acts the official Washington uses to indicate its influence on the Ukrainian political elute. The US is merely incapable of offering to Kiev what it expects. These expectations include: 1) large-scale assistance in the post-Communist Ukraine’s transformation; 2) real support of Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

As for US assistance, in 2005 it totalled $174 million, with $53,3 million earmarked for the implementation of social and economic reforms, a ridiculous amount when serous reforms are on the agenda, and, given the continuing aggravation of the financial situation in the United States there’s hardly anything Ukraine can currently count on.

As for Ukraine’s NATO membership that was the main topic of negotiations Bush held with his Ukrainian counterparts, Kiev is to consider this membership as a step towards another goal for Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

However in their Ukrainian policies, EU leaders stick to a firm line. They think that Ukraine’s membership in the EU is totally out of the question, so its NATO membership would change nothing. True, what Kiev is offered to create together with the EU a free-trade zone (after Ukraine becomes a WTO member). In other words, Ukraine’s status will make it equal to EU Mediterranean partners with many of whom it has free-trade agreements with. More than that, with many of them it has association agreements. But a free-trade agreement would not make Ukraine a millimetre closer to a EU membership, and Brussels would close its ears on Washington’s calls to open its doors to the “democratic Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the option of becoming a NATO member without any prospect of getting an EU membership cannot satisfy Ukrainian elite on the whole (to say nothing of Viktor Yuschhenko). Kiev politicians realise that a NATO membership first and foremost means that Ukraine’s military and industrial complex would be technologically and financially strangled due to the severing cooperation ties with Russia and the forced refusal of deliveries of armaments to the countries that in the West are considered hostile, and secondly; the full-fledged frontier regime on the Ukrainian-Russian and Ukrainian-Belorussian frontiers with the inevitable consequences for the residents of Ukraine’s east. But Ukrainian authorities would decide to step on this “slippery” path only if they get as “compensation” real prospects of an EU membership, otherwise the course towards a NATO membership would become their political suicide.

That is why Ukrainian political heayweights, Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich are more and more demonstrating their reticence where issues of the North Atlantic organisations, whereas Viktor Yushchenko is the only enthusiast of Ukraine’s NATO membership, but his electoral base is melting and who would need more and more support of the United States in his striving to keep his president’s chair.

The question is how long would Ukrainian elite be satisfied with meaningless and absolutely unfeasible promises of its Western partners. Sooner or later that Ukrainian leadership will have to admit that the prospects of Ukrainian EU membership is a “carrot” that the donkey cannot get, whereas huge political costs of nothing but an attempt to ensure Ukraine’s NATO membership would have to be paid for immediately and in full.

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Russia could claim Crimea if Ukraine joins NATO – MP

Posted by Kris Roman on April 10, 2008

A senior member of the Russian lower house of parliament said on Wednesday that Russia could claim the Crimea if Ukraine was admitted to NATO.

NATO decided at its recent summit in Romania not to offer Ukraine and Georgia the chance to join a program that would have put them on the track to join the military alliance, but promised that the decision would be reviewed in December. The ex-Soviet republics had received strong U.S. backing for their bids.

“If Ukraine’s admission to NATO is accelerated, Russia could raise the question of which country the Crimea should be a part of,” Alexei Ostrovsky, the head of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, said in a radio interview.

“The Russian Federation has legal grounds to revise agreements signed under Khrushchev.”

Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who grew up in Ukraine, made the Crimean Peninsula – a territory of 26,100 sq km washed by the Black and Azov seas – part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. The peninsula had formerly been a part of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The Crimea, now an autonomous region within Ukraine, is a predominantly Russian-speaking territory. Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, the Crimea has unsuccessfully sought independence from Ukraine. A 1994 referendum in the Crimea supported demands for a broader autonomy and closer links with Russia.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet retains a Soviet-era base in Sevastopol in the Crimea. Disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the lease of the base are frequent.

However, Ostrovsky admitted that Ukraine was unlikely to join NATO any time soon, saying that the Ukrainian president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker were the only people in the country seeking membership of the Western military alliance. His comments referred to recent opinion polls that have indicated that about 70% of the population is opposed to joining NATO.

NATO’s ongoing expansion, as well as Washington’s missile plans for Europe and an ongoing dispute over the recognition of Kosovo by the U.S and the majority of EU states have plunged Moscow’s relations with the West to a post-Cold War low.

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NATO fighters again accompany Russian bombers near Alaska

Posted by Kris Roman on April 9, 2008

 

NATO fighters accompanied Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers on a regular strategic patrol flight on Wednesday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

Four Bear bombers and four Il-78 aerial tankers conducted a patrol mission over the Arctic and the Pacific Ocean and performed aerial refueling, which is the second exercise of Russian bombers near Alaska in three weeks.

“During the flight over neutral waters near Alaska, the Russian planes were accompanied by NATO fighters,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

Interceptions of Russian combat aircraft by NATO fighters have been a common occurrence since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Drobyshevsky reiterated that regular patrols of Russian strategic bombers do not pose a threat to other countries, and Russia always issues prior warnings of their patrols.

He said that the main purpose of these missions was to train pilots in instrument flight and aerial refueling.

 

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Putin triumphs against NATO expansion

Posted by Kris Roman on April 4, 2008

President Vladimir Putin joined the NATO summit Thursday after triumphing in a bitter campaign to scupper the membership hopes of pro-Western Georgia and Ukraine.Putin arrived in the Romanian capital Bucharest for dinner and was to deliver an address on Friday with expectations high that he will invite the alliance to use Russia for transit to the war in Afghanistan.

The ex-KGB officer, who is due to move to the prime minister’s post in May after eight years in the Kremlin, is the alliance’s most bitter critic, particularly over eastward expansion into the former Soviet bloc.

He won a victory even before arriving Thursday when after months of Russian pressure NATO declined to give Membership Action Plan (MAP) status to ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine.

Putin had threatened to target nuclear missiles at Ukraine if the country joined the alliance and his angry rhetoric helped cause a public split in NATO.

The United States pushed for expansion, while western European powers France and Germany, which rely heavily on Russian oil and gas imports, warned against angering Moscow.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said France and Germany had confirmed “the importance of maintaining good relations with Russia.”

Despite the row over expansion, Putin appeared keen to use his international swansong as president to help realign relations between Moscow and the West in time for his successor Dmitry Medvedev, who will be sworn in on May 7.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Putin was set to offer unprecedented cooperation by letting NATO use Russia for transit to the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Scheffer said: “We hope that tomorrow’s meeting … will have as one of the results the land transportation agreement of non-lethal goods for ISAF in Afghanistan.”

Another major sticking point — a planned US missile shield in central Europe — was to be aired at a separate summit between Putin and US President George W. Bush in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi over the weekend.

In a sign of will to cooperate, NATO said Thursday it was “ready to explore the potential” for linking US, NATO and Russia’s own missile defence systems in a unified network.

The push for reconciliation did not mean that the principal problems were entirely resolved.

NATO may have kept Georgia and Ukraine out of the MAP scheme for now, but strong US lobbying meant that the door remains wide open for the future.

“We agree today that these countries will become members of NATO,” Scheffer said.

Georgia’s minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, Giorgi Baramidze, described that statement as a “historic” breakthrough for his country, while Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko also hailed a “victory.”

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko warned of “a big strategic mistake” if NATO embraced Georgia and Ukraine, and “most serious consequences for common European security.”

NATO also showed unity over Washington’s plans for missile defence in the Czech Republic and Poland, which the Pentagon says is necessary to guard against Iran, but Moscow describes as an attack on its security.

The allied leaders stated their support for the US plan and particularly the “substantial contribution to the protection of allies … to be provided by the planned deployment of European-based United States missile defence assets”.

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NATO hands Rusia a small victory

Posted by Kris Roman on April 4, 2008

At its summit in Bucharest, NATO decided not to move Ukraine and Georgia into the Membership Action Plan, telling the two states that at sometime in the future they would get their invitations to membership, but just not now. Instead, NATO focused its membership drive on the Balkans, offering invitations to Albania and Croatia, a delayed invitation to Macedonia (effective once the name issue is sorted out with Greece) and offering intensified dialogue plans to Montenegro and Bosnia (and saying it would be willing to offer similar status to Serbia should the latter chose to apply).

Leading up to the summit, there was a great deal of attention focused on the issue of Ukraine and Georgia — and the showdown between the United States and Russia being fought in the halls and meeting rooms in Bucharest. Washington backed membership invitations to Kiev and Tbilisi. Russia adamantly opposed (but had no say in the decision). And ultimately Germany and France cast the deciding votes for delay. This was a small victory for Russia, which has seen its periphery eaten away since the collapse of the Soviet Union and has its eyes (and strategic position) set on returning influence to its former republics.

Read the rest of this entry »

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NATO fighters scramble again to intercept Russian Bear bombers

Posted by Kris Roman on March 19, 2008

 

 

 NATO fighters scrambled to accompany Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers on a regular patrol over the Atlantic on Wednesday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.Two Bear bombers conducted a 16-hour patrol mission Wednesday over the Atlantic Ocean and performed aerial refueling while flying over neutral waters near Norway en route to their home bases.”During the flight, the Russian bombers were accompanied by NATO’s F-16 and Tornado fighters,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.Interceptions of Russian combat aircraft by NATO fighters are becoming a common occurrence again, after Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin.Russian bombers have since carried out over 70 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes.Drobyshevsky reiterated on Wednesday that regular patrols of Russian strategic bombers do not pose a threat to other countries, and Russia always issues prior warnings of their patrols.

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Ukrainians remain opposed to NATO membership

Posted by Kris Roman on March 17, 2008

RIA Novosti – Only 11.1% of Ukrainians polled in a survey published on Monday said they supported the country’s drive to join NATO, while almost 36% said they would vote against the plans if a referendum were held.

 

However, only 11.5% of respondents to the survey carried out by the All-Ukrainian Social Service said they supported the idea of holding a referendum on the issue.Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said previously that a decision on whether Ukraine should take up any future NATO offer to join the alliance would only be taken after a nationwide referendum.The survey was conducted from February 27 to March 8 and involved 2,500 respondents from all regions of the ex-Soviet country. The statistical margin of error was 2.5%.In January, Ukraine’s pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and Parliamentary Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to the alliance’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer requesting that the country join the NATO Membership Action Plan.However, the opposition Party of Regions led by former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and the Communist Party, blocked parliament’s work for over a month in protest against the move, saying Ukraine must not pursue NATO membership without a referendum.Parliament reopened for work on March 6 after a deal was reached to approve a special resolution saying Ukraine’s could not join NATO without a referendum.Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has threatened to re-target nuclear missiles toward Ukraine if it joins the Western military alliance. The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia is also seeking membership in the organization.Some Western states remain cautious over the two countries’ NATO bids, unwilling to further provoke Russia, which is wary of the alliance’s ongoing eastward expansion.

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NATO urges Russia to tone down its `fiery rhetoric`

Posted by Kris Roman on March 14, 2008

NATO urged Russia on Wednesday to tone down its “fiery rhetoric” after repeated Moscow attacks on the growing influence of the military alliance and US plans to base parts of a missile shield in Europe.

“We have seen too much rhetoric at too high a level. We would like to see it dialled down,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said in a conference, speaking from Brussels.

“Fiery rhetoric does make the headlines and there has been a little too much of it,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday accused NATO of aiming to replace the United Nations and warned of raising the potential for conflict.

“You get the impression that attempts are being made to set up an organisation that would substitute for the UN,” he said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Relations between Russia and the Western military alliance have deteriorated in recent years amid a NATO expansion drive, US plans to install anti-missile defences in central Europe and Moscow’s suspension of a key Cold War-era arms pact.

Putin is expected to attend a NATO summit early next month in Bucharest which will include some 50 heads of state and government including US President George W Bush.

Washington’s anti-missile shield plans have particularly angered Russia, which sees them as a threat to its security.

In an interview published on Monday, Russia’s envoy to NATO issued a new warning against ex-Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine joining the Western alliance.

Kiev and Tbilisi are expected to confirm that they are candidates to join NATO at the Bucharest summit, but their chances of a formal invitation to proceed are considered slight.

Appathurai said the alliance has had discussions with Georgia and Ukraine, but “no decision has been taken; discussions are continuing.”He added that “Russian views are heard but NATO nations are the only parties who decide on invitations.”

On the issue of Georgia’s two breakaway regions of Abkazia and South Ossetia, he said: “NATO allies are unanimous and firm in support for the territorial integrity of Georgia.”

 

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Russia’s Putin appoints nationalist politician Rogozin NATO envoy

Posted by Kris Roman on February 6, 2008

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed former State Duma deputy Dmitry Rogozin as Russia’s new ambassador to NATO, the president’s press service said Thursday.

Rogozin served in the State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, from 1996-2006, where he was a leader of nationalist party Rodina. In April 2007, he formed the Great Russia Party together with an anti-immigrant organization.

Rogozin has also served as Russia’s representative to the Strasbourg-based Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a 47-nation body that concentrates on human rights issues.

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