Russia’s reaction to the NATO summit in Warsaw

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Series Details 13.07.16
Publication Date 13/07/2016
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The decisions taken at the Warsaw NATO summit come as no surprise to Russia, since most of the major arrangements had been announced in public over the past few months. Moscow’s disillusionment is rather an effect of the final declaration made at the summit, which was unequivocally critical of Russia (Moscow clearly hoped for a more “balanced” content with more offers of dialogue with Russia). Political reactions from Russia have so far been negative, if rather moderate. Criticism of NATO’s policy and the decisions taken at the summit are accompanied by declarations suggesting Russia’s is ready for dialogue with NATO, including over a possible deal to avoid military incidents.

Russia has not made any aggressive military moves in response to the summit. However, it confirmed the continuation of its actions to enhance its offensive potential on its western flank (in the Western and Southern Military Districts). These actions had in fact already begun at the end of 2015.

Russia will most likely stick to its tactic of moderate reaction in the coming months in an attempt to strengthen the supporters of dialogue with Moscow among the key NATO member states. It seems that Russia is above all waiting for the outcome of the presidential election in the USA in November this year, hoping that Donald Trump will win. It views Trump as a politician who would be able to enter into a strategic bargain with Russia and to revise US security policy, including to restrict its engagement in Europe. In this context, Russia will focus especially on efforts to set back the implementation of the NATO-US missile defence system project in Europe, in particular construction of the base in Redzikowo, Poland.

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ESO: Background information: NATO Summit, Warsaw, 8-9 July 2016

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