"NATO and Russia need to reach an agreement" - Leeds university professor on invasion's impact on international relations

Dr Kostas Maronitis, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Leeds Trinity University

By Dr Kostas Maronitis
Friday, 25th February 2022, 4:30 pm

The recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic by the State Duma of Russia and the subsequent invasion of these regions by the

Russian army will have great repercussions on how the EU sees itself in a militarily and geopolitical way, and on the present and future orientation of NATO.

Since its establishment as an intranational polity, the EU have always relied on NATO for its defence. Unable or unwilling to develop a coherent defence policy, the geopolitical interests

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Firemen extinguish a fire inside a residential building that was hit by a missile in Kyiv, Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with Russian troops invading the country from the north, east and south, accompanied by air strikes and shelling.

and defence mechanisms of the EU have been inexorably aligned with those of the US, since the latter is NATO’s leading member.

The EU is facing a great test concerning its energy and foreign policies respectively. If the EU is opposed to Russia’s expansionist moves, how would it oppose it? Are the EU member states prepared to move faster towards renewables than originally planned and effectively cut ties with Russia’s gas exports?

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The EU will have to develop a foreign and energy policy that is independent of an American approach largely dominated by the narratives and anxieties of the Cold War.

What is NATO for? Soon after the end of the Cold War, NATO saw itself as an agent for national building. Following the disastrous attempts of nation building in Afghanistan, Iraq

and more recently in Libya, NATO has found itself in the awkward position of revisiting disputes that supposedly ended in the early 1990s.

In effect, NATO and Russia need to reach an agreement that takes into account the historical and geopolitical dynamics in the region and puts an end to their respective expansion plans.

If not, Ukraine will continue to be deployed as a proxy target for Russia’s historical grievances and NATO’s mishandled appeasement of Vladimir Putin during the war on terror.

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