2019 - NATO-RUSSIA RELATIONS – A SNAPSHOT

Raynell ANDREYCHUK (Canada)

29 April 2019

Following the end of the Cold War, the Alliance attempted to build a strategic partnership with Russia. However, relations between NATO member states and Russia have deteriorated considerably in recent years, particularly in the wake of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its continued political, military, and economic support to members of the illegal armed groups operating in the occupied parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.  

Russia’s actions are challenging security and stability in the entire Euro-Atlantic area. In addition to the Kremlin’s outright hostile and destabilizing policy towards Ukraine, Russia has engaged in disinformation and hybrid activities which interfere in the democratic processes of NATO member and partner countries and aim to undermine public trust in democratic institutions in NATO member states. In addition, Russia’s efforts also seek to undermine the Alliance as a whole and dismantle the rules-based international order.

This overview is an update of earlier reports of the NATO PA’s Political Committee on Russia and on NATO-Russia relations. In this short paper, your Rapporteur analyses Russia’s approach to the Alliance and the implications for NATO member and partner countries. The draft report identifies key areas where Russia’s actions impact the security of NATO Allies; it suggests that the Kremlin is likely to continue its confrontational attitude towards the Alliance as President Vladimir Putin shows no intention of changing. More generally, the Kremlin is pursuing a revisionist approach and wants to establish a different international order. Responding to Russia’s provocative actions, the Alliance needs to remain firm and continue to strengthen defence and deterrence while avoiding escalation. Moreover, NATO member states need to maintain their political cohesion in their relationship with Russia and muster the necessary political will to counter Russian aggression when and where necessary. At the same time, the Allies could continue the political dialogue with Russia and evaluate possible avenues to expand and, if possible, deepen this dialogue. This draft report will be updated for the Assembly’s 2019 Annual Session.