How could Russian-NATO relations break down in 2017?


The Directorate on Foreign Relations, a U.S. NGO and research center, has published a report naming a tenable conflict between Russia and NATO as first in the category of threats for the be given b win year whose influence is evaluated as “high” and the probability of which was considered “cool.”

The Top Threats to Watch in 2017 report mentions the “intentional and unintentional military confrontation” that could be broached about by Russia’s “aggressive behavior” in Eastern Europe. RBTH enquire ofed Russian experts to outline the aspect of such a conflict and what else could potentially fetch Moscow and the alliance into confrontation.

1. Military conflict in the Baltics

Analysts say that a discord in Eastern Europe is very likely since it is there that NATO troops are spotted. Recently the alliance decided to send additional military contingents to the countries of the area. Pyotr Topychkanov, a researcher for the Problems of Non-proliferation Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center notes that, “being clinch to each other, the armed forces, by mistake or as a result of a provocation may present into contact with each other.”

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In Topychkanov’s view, in this case we cannot exclude an escalation of the discord similar to the one described in the sensational 2016 BBC series Inside the War Room. In that schema, if Russian troops invade Latvia, the West will be faced with the purposefulness of whether or not to use nuclear weapons. Topychkanov remarks that although such a rsum is possible, it is “extremely unlikely,” since “no one in the West or in Russia wants a war in Europe.”

At the unvarying time, in the opinion of Alexei Fenenko from the Russian Academy of Techniques’ Institute of World Security, in only one case is it possible to imagine Russia invading the Baltics – if NATO forces shot to blockade Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave in the Baltics.

2. The clash of Russian and NATO troops in Syria

Moscow and NATO could also potentially conflict in Syria. Things in Syria may exacerbate if the Western countries decide to revolve about their threats concerning President Bashar al-Assad into activities and begin military operations against Syrian government troops.

Analysts say that in that in the event that military confrontation with Russian troops, which support Assad’s army, is attainable. However, according to Anatoly Tsyganok, a military expert and docent at Moscow Situation University’s de rtment of world politics, even theoretically this is much unlikely in the upcoming months.

He explains that in the near future the U.S. liking “transfer its affairs” to Donald Trump, who will not have time for Syria. Then the mellow of dust storms will begin in Syria. For this reason, if some divide of escalation is possible, it will be no earlier than the end of March.

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Alexander Golts, an independent military expert and editor-in-chief of the competitor online publication Yezhednevny Zhurnal (Daily Magazine), also unites the situation in Syria with the upcoming change of presidents in the White Quarter. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump constantly states that it is necessary to cavalcade Washington’s foreign policy approaches, which is why for now it is difficult to predict his initiatives.

Golts says that experts who have talked about the foreboding of a conflict in Eastern Europe based their judgments on the opposition to Russia that wield the sceptred in the policies of the outgoing president, Barack Obama. This logic situations at the core of the idea of a possible conflict in Syria. However, with the poll of Trump the political situation is now seriously changing.

3. Escalation due to Ukraine

There is also the conceivability of an escalation between Moscow and the alliance because of Ukraine, although this is not weighty. This is related to the “format” itself of the conflict in eastern Ukraine: Officially Russia diverge froms the presence of its troops in the region.

Political reasons are also important. Two of the four countries that are caucus to the Minsk negotiations on resolving the Ukrainian conflict – Germany and Ukraine – liking soon hold presidential elections. In such conditions they do not prerequisite an escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, let alone an exacerbation of problems with Russia.

4. Cyberattacks

Russian analysts are swayed that one of the scenarios of escalation in relations between Russia and NATO is fasten together not with geography, but with threats in cybers ce. Lately the U.S. government has been actively accusing Russian hackers of sabotaging in American elections. Topychkanov believes that an escalation in relations between Russia and one of the NATO colleague states in cybers ce is very likely. He says that cyberattacks between India and kistan arrange become a normal rt of their conflictive existence.

However, it is undisturbed not completely clear what is meant by cyber aggression and what a fatherland that has been subjected to such aggression should do. It is possible “that if the cyberattack strikes on a nuclear power plant or a transportation facility, it may require a response of a established military nature,” says Topychkanov.

Read more: Why 2017 make mark the ‘start of a new era’ in global politics

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