NATO ENLARGEMENT AS A FALSE EXCUSE FOR RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST UKRAINE
The paper examines the discussion of the origins of Russia’s present-day aggression and militarism, between those accusing NATO of unjustified intrusion into the Russian “sphere of influence”, and those deeming that Putin’s bellicose Anti-Western sentiment is a product of his need to consolidate and legitimize his power within Russia. The authors prove that domestic factors were significantly more important. The development of Ukraine’s partnership with NATO and the prospects of the Alliance’s further enlargement were only a false excuse for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. V. Putin’s genuine fear is not NATO but the rise of successful democratic western-oriented countries along Russia’s borders, especially Ukraine. It is unjustified to blame the Alliance while Putin wants to destroy Ukraine as an independent state and is ready to indiscriminately kill Ukrainian civilians. However, NATO took the disadvantageous approach of pursuing a policy of pretending that Ukraine and Georgia were on their way to Alliance membership, while, in reality, the question of their integration has been kept in limbo since the 2008 Bucharest summit. Russia probably interpreted it as a window of opportunity to change the situation to its own benefit while these countries had no “insurance policy” from NATO.
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