Russia has been undermining Europe’s security system for decades. At least three independent states have been victims of its aggression in the last 30 years: Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. Following Russia’s ruthless invasion of Ukraine, Europeans must admit that Russian diplomacy is ineffective.
The Russian leadership accuses the US and NATO of providing a “lack of security assurances in Europe,” disobeying OSCE regulations, and deploying American missile systems in Europe.
At the same time, the Russian Federation’s aggression in neighboring countries directly violates both the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the fundamental principles of the OSCE, and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
Russia’s unilateral increase in human resources and equipment, the increased number of vessels in the Black Sea, and the potential placement of nuclear weapons in Belarus and seized Crimea pose a direct threat to the international order.
The country’s policy regime reinforces Russia’s aggressive foreign policy. The Putin dictatorship is marked by state propaganda, assassinations, attempted killings of opposition leaders (B. Nemtsov, A. Navalnyi), systemic human rights violations, and prisoner torture.
The refusal of the Russian legislature to recognize the European Court of Human Rights, as well as recent statements by former President Dmitrii Medvedev on the need to reinstate the death penalty and the brutal detention of anti-war protesters in Ukraine, demonstrate that Russia’s political leadership is as far removed from Europe as it is from democracy.
The threat of nuclear weapons in front of the world, the refusal to participate as an observer in future NATO training, the recognition of “Abkhazia,” “South Ossetia,” “LPR,” and “DPR,” as well as the continuation of the war against Ukraine despite unprecedented international sanctions, all demonstrate the essence of Russian imperialism.
In its current form, Russia poses a fatal threat not just to Ukraine but to the entire civilized world, using “the right of force” instead of “the force of law,” rewriting the history of Europe and Ukraine, and killing hundreds of thousands of lives for political purposes.
The Russian Federation’s political leadership applies realpolitik, in which money, people, and even entire states may be sacrificed to play the “grand chessboard.”
Europe must understand that Russia, and Putin in particular, will stop at nothing to achieve its goal of complete occupation and the destruction of Ukraine’s political independence. The shelling of the residential districts of Kharkiv and Mariupol with the BM-21 “Grad,” the occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the threat of using weapons against the Zaporizhzhia NPP, and the launch of a rocket towards the Kyiv HPP are beyond reasonable limits. Russia’s activities pose a real threat not only to the country but also to the world.
The aggressor can only speak with the weapon. The critical task of European partners is to make the price of the Russian invasion unbearable. Unless we act now, later, it may be too late.
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