Tbilisi (GPA) – The latest western dismissal of Moscow’s national security concerns has kicked off this week, and it involves NATO and Ukrainian troops right along Russia’s border.
The latest saber rattling has taken the form of another set of NATO exercises taking place along Russia’s borders. In fact, this latest exercise, known as “Agile Spirit 2017,” is taking place in a country that Russia still has ongoing border disputes with – Georgia.
While this is an annual NATO exercise, Agile Spirit still manages to cause tension every time it takes place. Like all NATO drills, if you investigate Agile Spirit it’s obvious Western bluster against Russia. This has been especially true since the drills started in 2011, or three years after Georgia and Russia went to war over the contested border region of South Ossetia.
The Agile Spirit exercise was originally just comprised of joint drills between the US and Georgia, but since 2015 more nations have been added as “NATO sponsored” allies. Since 2015, the list of these invited nations always includes several countries that constantly engage in whipping up the west into a Russophobic frenzy such as Latvia and Romania.
Yet one country invited clearly stands out among the crowd, the biggest Russophobe military regime of all, the soldiers of Ukraine. Unlike the other nations, Ukraine isn’t attending out of some need to show NATO has their back like other surrounding nations, but instead are seeking to gain more experience to go actually kill ethnic Russians at home.
It’s also not just the ethnic Russians in Ukraine who are concerned, but everyone who wants peace in Donbas as new talks begin in Minsk. For Ukraine to be training with NATO as these talks are underway, shows clear intent that as they attempt to negotiate they want the specter of NATO to be standing behind them. This attempt to show close ties with NATO is clearly an affront to Russia (for the previously mentioned reasons), aka the one party in the Minsk talks that is seeking peace.
Some would think Kiev would be as equally interested in peace as Russia, but at the moment they seem to be escalating their war in eastern Ukraine, right as negotiations begin. This attitude is clearly highlighted by Ukrainian soldiers actions at home, who have managed to rack up 41 violations of the previous ceasefire in the past 24 hours.
Everyone is already aware that NATO is the organization that is actually aggressive and constantly applying pressure to Russia’s borders. This latest invitation of Ukraine to participate in exercises in Georgia (again, a country still in their own years-long territorial dispute with Moscow) is clearly just meant to be another signal to Russia that they are still seen as the enemy of the trans-Atlanticists and the west will continue to prop up the military junta controlling Kiev.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.