Russia NATO & Ukraine

Razi Ahsan
Advocate High Court & Tax Consultant

The Conflict between Russia and the Eastern European Country Ukraine cannot be understood without considering the background. The “Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation” was approved by the North Atlantic Council on 16 May 1997 between NATO and the Russian Federation, It was signed in Paris, France, broadly it comprises of :

(i)    Principles (ii) Mechanism for Consultation and Cooperation, the NATO Russia (PJC)Permanent Joint Council  (iii) Areas for Consultation and Cooperation (iv) Political-Military Matters

The NATO Russia Founding Act reflects the changing security environment in Europe, an environment in which the confrontation of the Cold War has been replaced by the promise of closer cooperation among former adversaries. The Founding Act is the expression of an enduring commitment, undertaken at the highest political level, to build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area and to build a stable, peaceful, and undivided Europe. This is in the interest of NATO, Russia, and states in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The Founding Act, as agreed with the Russian side, has FOUR Sections. It begins with a Preamble which establishes the context for the stable and enduring partnership. It states the reasons why NATO and Russia believe that it is in their shared interest to cooperate more broadly and intensively.

SECTION-I: Details the principles on which the NATO Russia partnership will be based. These include commitments to norms of international behavior as reflected in the UN Charter and OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) documents, as well as more explicit commitments such as respecting states’ sovereignty, independence, and right to choose the means to ensure their security, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Both sides commit themselves to strengthen the OSCE with the aim of creating a common space of security and stability in Europe.

SECTION –II:  Creates a new forum the NATO Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC). This will be the venue for consultations, cooperation, and wherever possible consensus-building between the Alliance and Russia. The PJC will hold regular consultations on a broad range of political or security-related matters; based on these consultations, develop joint initiatives on which NATO and Russia would agree to speak or act in parallel.

SECTION- IIIDetails a broad range of topics on which NATO and Russia can consult and perhaps cooperate, including preventing and settling conflicts, peacekeeping, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and exchanging information on security and defence.

SECTION-IV:   Covers military issues In this section, the members of NATO reiterate their statement of 10 December 1996 that they have no intention, no plan, and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members. NATO reiterates its 14 March 1997 statement indicating that in the current and foreseeable security environment NATO plans to carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement, the Alliance will have to rely on adequate infrastructure to allow for reinforcement if necessary.

Section IV also provides mechanisms to foster closer military-to-military cooperation between NATO and Russia, including by creating military liaison missions on both sides.

1.     Both sides have agreed that nothing in this document restricts or impedes the ability of either side to decide independently. It does not provide NATO or Russia at any stage with a right of veto over the actions of the other. The provisions of the NATO-Russia Founding Act can also not be used as a means to disadvantage the interests of other states.

2.     The NATO-Russia Founding Act does not subordinate NATO to any other organization, and it can in no way diminish the political or military effectiveness of the Alliance. NATO and Russia will work together on a broad spectrum of tasks in the Permanent Joint Council, which will, however, remain clearly separate from the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s own decision-making body.

As far as the sections are concerned historically speaking in 1994 Russia became the first country to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP), a program of practical bilateral cooperation between NATO and partner countries. The Brussels Summit Declaration defined the goals of PfP as expanding and intensifying political and military cooperation in Europe, increasing stability, diminishing threats to peace, and building strengthened security relationships.

On 28th May 2002 Cooperation through the NATO-Russia Council, NATO leaders, and President Vladimir Putin signed a declaration in Rome titled “NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality.” This established the NATO-Russia Council as a consensus-based body of equal members. Russia was the only NATO partner offered such a privileged partnership.

Russia’s military action in Georgia in August 2008 led to the suspension of formal meetings of the NATO-Russia Council and cooperation in some areas. Allies continue to call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl on 4 April 2009 NATO leaders acknowledged disagreements with Russia over Georgia but decided to resume practical and political cooperation. In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, part of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. In response, on 1 April 2014, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to suspend all practical cooperation with Russia but the channels for communication nevertheless remain open.

The United States and its NATO allies are trying to punish Russia with heavy economic sanctions. Russia’s major energy company Gazprom said gas exports via Ukraine will continue as normal, around 40% of Europe’s Natural gas is supplied by Russia. Other leading commodities exported from Russia to Europe include Mineral fuels, Mineral oils, Natural or cultured Pearls, Iron, Steel, Wood, Copper, Nickel, Fertilizers, Aluminum, Machinery, Nuclear reactors, Boilers, Organic chemicals, Fish, Crustaceans, and Rubber.

It is apparent that there will be no Military solution. What other sanctions NATO is planning to impose. Europe will face the counter effect, what might happen if Russia cuts off some or all of its gas supplies.

As far as the recent PM’s visit to Russia, the warm welcome by the Russians and agreements of investment and transfer of technology is a flash of hope. In the current Geo-Political environment it’s better to join regional Blocks. It is clear as daylight that now Pakistan, China, Russia is one block and will work together for the betterment of the region.