From Mr Yury Barmin.

Sir, Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union Nato has been struggling to find a new purpose for its existence, which has been reflected in the plummeting defence spending of its members (“Each Nato ally must pull its weight after Russia’s threats”, Comment, August 6). Now the alliance officials, however, may rejoice, as an illusive threat of a strong and disobedient Russia is sure to keep Nato afloat.

But the claims for an increase in defence spending of the Nato members justified by a looming Russian invasion are outright misleading, yet intentional. An assumption that Russia may choose to invade Ukraine or any other eastern European country is dangerous in its naivety as it brings about wrongful judgments about Moscow’s foreign policy strategy.

Formally, Russia never invaded Crimea, as its involvement in the peninsula was carried out by battalions stationed there under the Russia-Ukraine agreement. The idea of intervention in any neighbouring country is highly unpopular inside Russia and such an option has never been on the Kremlin’s table.

The only reason the Kremlin decided to go ahead with the annexation of Crimea is to protect its national interests in the strategic region of the Black Sea. Unlike Crimea, no other eastern European region offers the same geopolitical benefits to Russia. In this instance groundless panic over a possible Russian invasion of an alliance member is more likely an excuse to step up military spending, which otherwise would not have been justified.

Speaking of the “post-cold war world order” and how Russia is looking to disrupt it, secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen presumably means the order of US domination in the international arena. But then Russia is an unlikely adversary, unless Nato expects to engage in an all-out war with it.

Yury Barmin, Research Analyst, The Delma Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE

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