Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NATO faces limited options over Ukraine conflict

NATO faces limited options over Ukraine conflict: Western leaders are planning a powerful show of unity at a NATO summit this week against what they see as Russian aggression in Ukraine, but the measures will remain limited due to a lack of political consensus on direct intervention.

The planned deployment of thousands of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe is intended to reassure NATO member states in the former Soviet bloc and is bound to anger Russia as it will challenge a key NATO-Russia deal.

But the summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday is likely to stop short of an outright challenge to Moscow on the spiralling conflict in eastern Ukraine, which is threatening to degenerate into all-out war between Russia and Ukraine.

"The likelihood of any type of overt military intervention is highly unlikely," said Robin Niblett, director of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) in London.

"There is no support for it at an alliance level. No one is going to go on their own," he said, pointing out that there is no obligation on NATO to act as Ukraine is not a member and does not enjoy the same principle of "collective defence".