08:03 GMT +319 October 2019
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    The NATO emblem is seen before a defence ministers meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on October 22, 2013

    Mending Fences? What Do Escalations in Ukraine Mean for NATO Alliance?

    © AFP 2019 / JOHN THYS
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    With tensions building between Ukraine and Russia, Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with defense correspondent for the Nation, Michael Klare, about what the changing relations mean to NATO.

    "I think for most people on both sides, some kind of stability is the ultimate objective," Klare tells Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker, describing a recent incident on the Crimean peninsula in which two Russian soldiers were killed by what Russian President Vladimir Putin described as Ukrainian-sponsored "sabotage-terrorist groups."

    "I don’t know who’s behind this, whether there’s some rogue factions on both sides trying to provoke things, but I can’t imagine that the political leaders in Ukraine and certainly not in Moscow want to see an escalation at this point."

    While it’s possible that the Ukrainian government is anticipating a Hillary Clinton presidency that will more aggressively court Kiev, Klare has his doubts.

    "I find it very hard to believe that anyone, including Hillary Clinton, wants to see a provocation or relations with Russia at this time," he says.

    "Over the long run, I think certainly Hillary Clinton is going to support a bolstering of NATO, but with respects to the Baltic republics and Poland, not Ukraine."

    This buildup largely uses a masquerade of "Russian aggression" to justify increased US defense spending.

    "I don’t think it’s in Russia’s interest to heat up the conflict in Europe at this time. I think President Putin, as I’ve said, is eager to mend fences with the West in order to have sanctions lifted and also to make progress on other fronts.

    "I do not believe that there’s any serious prospect of Russia engaging in some kind of assault on the Baltic republics. That doesn’t make sense to me."

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    Tags:
    russian aggression, NATO, Vladimir Putin, Michael Klare, Crimea, Russia, Ukraine
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