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 Ukrainian Crisis Sends NATO "Back to Basics"

More than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union brought an end to the Cold War, Ukraine's crisis is driving the U.S.-led defence alliance back to its original purpose: To protect its members against a perceived Russian threat.

Censor.NET reports, citing Reuters.

President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea and support for Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine has raised dramatically a sense of vulnerability among NATO's new eastern members from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

When NATO's 28 leaders hold a summit in Wales on Sept. 4-5, military plans to reassure former Soviet bloc states Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will top the agenda. The future of NATO's frozen relations with Russia will also loom large.

Read also: NATO Secretary General Rasmussen Arrives in Kyiv: "I'm Here to Offer NATO's Political Support to Ukraine"

"Six months into the Russia-Ukraine crisis we must agree on long-term measures to strengthen our ability to respond quickly to any threat, to reassure those allies who fear for their own country's security and to deter any Russian aggression," British Prime Minister David Cameron, the summit host, said in a letter of invitation to fellow leaders.

Cameron called for a new schedule of exercises, building new military infrastructure, pre-positioning equipment and supplies, and enhancing the NATO Response Force of up to 25,000 troops.

Read also: NATO Concerned that Russia Could Send Troops to Eastern Ukraine as Peace-Keeping Mission

Before, U.S. officials came to regard NATO mostly as a toolbox for building coalitions of the willing for expeditionary warfare or humanitarian missions.
"Now to some extent it's 'back to basics'. There's a renewed emphasis on Article V," the official said, referring to the mutual defence commitment enshrined in the founding 1949 North Atlantic Treaty.

Read also: Russia Ripped Up Rulebook. NATO Should Discuss New Actions Against Russian Aggression - Cameron

Washington and its allies will reaffirm that NATO's door remains open but avoid any move that might be deemed provocative by Russia, he said, adding: "This is not an enlargement summit."

That means the countries between NATO and Russia are likely to remain an unstable buffer zone for years to come, Reuters concludes.

 
 
 
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