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Russia-NATO ties frozen along deep dividing lines

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Significance

Differences over Belarus are only the latest manifestation of crisis in Russia's relationship with NATO, which has tracked the ups and downs of its broader engagement with the West. There is potential for escalation as each side perceives the other to be making provocative moves near its borders, while each takes steps to indicate its own serious intent to deter the other.

Impacts

  • Moscow will press Belarus's leadership to accept a significant Russian military presence, removing a buffer between NATO and Russia.
  • Russia's development of new weapons systems threatens NATO security and could lead to a new conventional arms race.
  • Forward deployment of US missile defence systems worry Russian leaders, who fear this will erode their nuclear deterrent capabilities.
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