Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference marked an aggressive change in posture for the Russian Federation. This was demonstrated graphically during the 2008 conflict with Georgia, and its destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014 degraded the relationship between Russia and NATO. Though still officially partners, the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was suspended and deterrence measures on either side bolstered.
On 20 April 2016 the NRC met for the first time in two years, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg going on record to say that the two sides have “profound and persistent differences and today’s meeting did not change that”. Wilton Park has been engaged in the conversation on events and dynamics in the post-Soviet space, in 2015 we ran events on Euro-Atlantic security: collaborating on new challenges, and NATO and Russia: managing the relationship events and earlier this year, a discussion of the role parliamentarians can play.
At July’s NATO Summit in Warsaw, member states will seek to build on the outcomes of the 2014 Wales Summit and chart a course for the Alliance’s relationship with Russia for the next two years. Forefront in the minds of officials and Heads of State will be the deterrence posture of the Alliance toward Russia, and the assurance measures necessary for peace of mind for member states on the eastern borders of NATO territory. On the road to the summit, this week’s Rethinking deterrence and assurance: Russia’s strategy relating to regional coercion and possible war and NATO’s response event looked at the challenges and requirements of effectively countering Russia’s strategy, including its nuclear component.