In recent years, Russia has implemented a large-scale rearmament of their army. This includes a process of modernization, especially with regard to units with conventional weapons. All of this indicates that the country is preparing for war.
According to Gazeta Wyborcza, this conclusion was reached by experts from the CSIS Intelligence Agency of Canada. In their 104-page report, these experts analyzed the recent changes in Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.
The writers of the report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position remains firm. He will most likely continue to pursue his expansionist policy in an attempt to expand his influence abroad. However, Canadian experts think it is unlikely that Russia will open a new front in Crimea and the Donbas as part of their hybrid war against Ukraine.
The CSIS believe that Moscow will start a new war and will not hide its involvement, or avoid responsibility, as is the case in their conflicts with Ukraine.
In Europe, some parties feel that Russia’s aggression should not be resisted but should rather be appeased. Even so, Canada and other allies will send its soldiers to Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression. This is all happening at a time when NATO is conducting its biggest large-scale exercises in the region since the end of the Cold War.
These actions against Russian aggression have been criticized by German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The minister has discussed the inadmissibility of “saber rattling” in front of Russia. He feels that NATO should rather continue the reduction of arms and should also hold discussions with Moscow to establish cooperation.
The CSIS has also reported that Russia will refuse to cooperate with Europe and North America. In addition, the Canadian experts have said that the sanctions, which have been imposed against Russia for the last two years, have not affected Russia’s policies towards the West.
Steinmeier is not the only one who has called for leniency against Russia despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Austrian Foreign Ministry has proposed lifting the sanctions against Russia in stages. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, the European Union (EU) must seek common ground with Russia. The easing of sanctions may assist in this.
However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, has warned Europe of the dangers of appeasing Russia. Linkevičius also stressed that European leaders would be making a mistake by turning a blind eye to the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the EU Council has extended the Crimean sanctions until the 23rd of June 2017. The President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, has also confirmed that the EU intends to extend other sanctions against Russia.