A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system rolls at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The complex and evolving NATO-Russia relationship

Laden with Risk

July 2019, Number 09.03

Since February 2014, Russia, a country with 1,900 usable nuclear weapons, has annexed Crimea, destabilized eastern Ukraine, aggressively penetrated NATO airspace in the Baltics, undertaken submarine operations near vital undersea cables that carry internet communications in the Atlantic, launched Kalibr missiles from the Caspian flotilla against targets in Syria and almost come to blows with Turkey.

President Vladimir Putin has boasted of Russian troops reaching not just Kyiv, but Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw or Bucharest in two days. Senior NATO military officers, diplomats and politicians have warned of a paradigm shift in Russia’s relations with the West, one that is laden with risk as Russia uses conventional forces and Soviet-era brinkmanship for intimidation and coercion, with escalation dominance threatening land grabs. Even before the attempted assassination in England of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in March 2018, it was evident that there are no clear rules of the road and accepted vocabulary, reflecting a blurring of the lines between domestic and foreign policy and war and peace, as well as ongoing debates over Russia’s strategic motivation and intent...

Excerpt from Graeme Herd, “Laden with Risks,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 9, No. 3, 2019: 34-41.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.