Fears of Further Russian Military Action Have the West on Edge

As Russian troops moved to occupy Ukraine’s last outstanding military bases in Crimea, Ukrainian leadership called for its forces to withdraw.  The West continues to worry over how far Russia will go and uncertainty abounds as to what, if anything, NATO will do in response.

US and NATO leadership reached out to Ukraine with messages of support for the Ukrainian military’s restraint under pressure.

The Council’s executive vice president encapsulated Western worries about Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and broader questions of what NATO, the European Union, and the United States would do in the event of further Russian aggressions.

At the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO would respond if a member state were threatened.

However, it remains uncertain exactly how NATO would respond to additional Russian incursions into Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.

In a conference call with Atlantic Council members Friday, Senator John McCain said that while Putin’s next moves are unclear, his motivations are rooted in a 19th century mindset.

Senator Dick Durbin noted on the call that the West can hit Russia where it hurts the most with economic sanctions.

Dissatisfation with Russian actions is widespread across Europe. When Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia took the stage at the Brussels Forum, two Russian Ambassadors reportedly in attendence left the room. The snub did not go unnoticed.