Obama: There cannot be 'business as usual' with Russia until Minsk agreements are implemented

Speaking at the NATO Summit in Warsaw on Saturday, US President Barack Obama said that relations with Moscow cannot normalize until Russia implements the Minsk agreements, Radio Svoboda reported.

“Our 28 nations [NATO] are united in our view that there can be no business as usual with Russia until it fully implements its Minsk obligations,” Obama said.

At his first NATO summit in 2009, Obama stressed that one of the Alliance’s main goals should the pursuit of “a constructive relationship with Russia”. However, as a result of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014 and its continued support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the geopolitical landscape in Europe has changed significantly since Obama’s first summit, and this year, the US President formalized plans with fellow NATO leaders to provide 1,000 US troops to be stationed in Poland and the Baltic States.

Canada, the UK, and Germany also agreed to provide 1,000 soldiers each to strengthen the Alliance’s eastern flank.

“We’re moving forward with the most significant reinforcement of our collective defense [since] any time since the Cold War,” Obama stated.

According to White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, “If Russia continues this pattern of aggressive behavior, there will be a response and there will be a greater presence in Eastern Europe… We will not be in any way deterred from fulfilling our commitments by anything that Russia says or does.”

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated on Sunday that Russia expects a detailed explanation from NATO concerning the Alliance’s buildup of troops and equipment in Eastern Europe. The next NATO-Russia Council meeting is scheduled to be held in Moscow on Wednesday.

  US, Russia, NATO