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Crimea / Ukraine. NATO “extremely concerned”. But that's all

NATO Secretary General AF Rasmussen and Deputy Defense Minister O. Oliynyk at the start of the meeting. (NATO)
NATO Secretary General AF Rasmussen and Deputy Defense Minister O. Oliynyk at the start of the meeting (Credit: NATO)

(BRUSSELS2 at NATO headquarters) By opening the session of the Ukraine-NATO commission, Anders Fogh Rasmussen heard a political signal towards Ukraine announced: “ an important partner for NATO » and a friend — « NATO is and remains a friend of Ukraine” —. He also expressed his extreme concern " on the " recent developments in Crimea ».

This morning's action (led) by an armed group is " dangerous and irresponsible » he denounces. Before " to urge "Russia" not take any action that could (lead) to an escalation of tension or create misunderstandings.” He also has " urged the new Ukrainian government to continue its efforts to establish an inclusive political process that reflects the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people. And urge all parties to abandon confrontation, refrain from provocative actions and return to the path of dialogue”.

Preserve territorial integrity

Same message on the Rond Point Schuman side. " The EU keeps the same message. We have already said it: all stakeholders must continue to respect territorial integrity. We will continue to repeat this (again) today. The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected by all” recalled the spokesperson for the European Commission during the regular press briefing.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde with Loreline Merelle at EU headquarters)

Comment: a fake green light? By triggering a “sudden inspection” of his troops on February 26, the day NATO Defense Ministers met, Russian President Putin does not appear to have done so solely out of tactical concern on the ground. It thus tests the Alliance's capacity for reactivity. Despite the rather harsh words of the NATO Secretary General, we are sticking to words for the moment. No decision yet seems to have been taken, even as a preventive measure, by the Alliance. Which is, in fact, akin to a green light, restrictive to the Russian authorities. The message being: don't push it too far. Basically, take Crimea, not the rest.

(UPDATE) No support request, no plan

This impression was officially confirmed by NATO Secretary General AF Rasmussen at the end of the Council, after the meeting of Defense Ministers. “ My statement is very balanced. I warned 'all parties' not to escalate the situation ". In other words, a message intended for Russians as well as… Ukrainians. And to add, repeating a classic message: “ the army must remain neutral. What we need is a political dialogue, an inclusive process. » AF Rasmussen also clarified that: 1) “ No requests for assistance have been submitted to NATO » by Ukraine; 2) “ there is no plan to intervene militarily ". We can put it more bluntly: if Ukraine takes any military action, it will be left alone…

Read also: Russia will not let it go. Ukraine can say goodbye to Crimea

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “Crimea / Ukraine. NATO “extremely concerned”. But that's all"

  • You're totally right. And NATO too… what is it in the end? To threaten Crimea with military intervention? To threaten Putin?

    Let's be serious...and realistic.

    Ukraine is a bicultural country (Ukrainian and Russian), full of small ethno-linguistic minorities. If Ukraine decided to push further the process of de-Russification and rapprochement with the EU, the southern and southeastern parts would be perfectly legitimate to "secession to secession" to reintegrate their cultural and economic homeland: the Russia (by the way, Quebec separatists learned about it +/- 10 years ago, when they understood that in the event of Quebec independence, the Indians in the north of the province would … secede from the secession to stay in Canada).

    As for the repeal of regional languages ​​(and in the first place Russian) by the “emergency parliament”, it is downright an incitement to secession for the Russian-speaking regions. One wonders if this vote is not guided by Putin.

    Putin precisely, for the moment has no interest in going further than the Crimea. The two easternmost Ukrainian Oblasts vote even more “pro-Russian” than Crimea (+/- 90% for Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential election, against 79% for Crimea). And all of the south (towards the Black Sea and Azov) overwhelmingly votes “Party of Regions”. By limiting itself to Crimea, it goes to the simplest constitutionally (since it is already an autonomous region) while retaining almost the same power of influence on Ukrainian internal policy, which will not be more "pro-European" after than before.

    By biting into an excellent Crimean cake on the way, without having to carry out a bloody military intervention. A lesson in geopolitics in short.

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