Former US envoy notes Putin’s obsession with founding a new Russian empire

22 January, 01:33 PM
Former U.S. Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker (Photo:US Embassy Kyiv Ukraine / Flickr)

Former U.S. Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker (Photo:US Embassy Kyiv Ukraine / Flickr)

Former U.S. Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, writing in a column for NV, has said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is seemingly intent on celebrating the Dec. 20, 2022 centenary of the Soviet Union by founding a new, restored Russian empire.

“Learning to live with this new reality will be quite a challenge for NATO’s leadership in the coming months and years,” Volker said.

“In order to preserve freedom and security in Europe, (…) NATO must be ready to bring its military footprint and vigilance back to their highest levels in decades.”

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According to the diplomat, treaty proposals presented by Moscow to the United States and NATO last December clearly indicate that Russia seeks to demolish European security arrangements that have been in place since 1975, and divide the continent in Yalta-style spheres of influence.

“Some elements of the Helsinki treaty (of 1975) are in tension with Russian demands: The right for countries to choose their allies, non-interference in internal matters of sovereign states, foregoing threats and force as foreign policy levers, and the principle of borders not being changed by military force,” wrote Volker.

He added that the post-Cold War transitional period in international affairs is coming to an end, and the world should not expect global security to improve any time soon.

A Russian troop buildup that began in late autumn on the Ukrainian border was first widely reported in early December 2021, with several media outlets speculating that Russia might invade Ukraine with a force of 175,000 troops in early 2022.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that a renewed Russian offensive in Ukraine may occur in late January 2022.

The Kremlin denies gearing up for invasion, and has instead accused Ukraine of planning false flag operations, as well as of drawing up plans to use force to restore Kyiv’s control over the territories lost since 2014.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military intelligence has revealed that Russian proxy forces have restarted a chemical plant in occupied territory, formerly infamous for causing semi-regular environmental catastrophes, and have imported leaky barrels of ammonia for as-yet-unknown purposes.

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