Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Kurt Volker and Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Fellow Erik Brattberg cowrite for the Washington Post on what NATO must do to prove to President Putin that Russia cannot invade Ukraine one week prior to a NATO summit:
Vladimir Putin is placing a cynical bet that he can invade Ukraine just one week before a NATO summit — and that NATO will do nothing to stop him. The alliance must prove him wrong.
Despite sharp words from Brussels, Washington, London and Berlin, the Russian president believes that NATO lacks the will to challenge his dismemberment of Ukraine. By sending troops, tanks and artillery directly into the Ukrainian fighting, Putin is making a point: He will fight for Ukraine, and NATO will not. He is calling NATO’s bluff.
The Western response will be read carefully from Kiev to Tallinn to Moscow. For the sake of Ukraine’s integrity as a country, for future European security and for NATO’s credibility as a defense organization, NATO leaders need to make some tough decisions and push back militarily against Russia.