In spring 2018, as no end to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is in sight, tensions between Russia and NATO remain at a worrisome level. Both sides have accused each other of violating key principles of the European security order and arms control agreements as well as increasing political pressure and mounting military threat. Escalatory rhetoric and military action such as the introduction of new weapons systems, restructuring and stationing of additional military units adjacent to critical areas, enlarged sizes and numbers of military manoeuvres, reconnaissance and show of force combined with brinkmanship in and above High Seas have added to threat perceptions in a number of NATO countries as well as in Russia. Thus, an additional layer of tensions and potentially dangerous developments have grown beyond the territorial conflict in Ukraine as such which indicates a larger geopolitical rift in Europe between the United States and its allies on the one side and Russia on the other. In his latest Working Paper, Wolfgang Richter analyzes possible options for de-escalation and gives concrete recommendations on the next steps.
About the Author
Wolfgang Richter (Colonel ret.) is Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin, Research Group on Security Politics. He served for many years in various German delegations to, inter alia, the United Nations and the OSCE.