New Russian military doctrine labels NATO security threat
The Kremlin on Friday published a revised military doctrine that labels NATO a fundamental threat to Russian security, and reflects the dramatically deteriorated relations between Moscow and the West.
Approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the doctrine decries the "reinforcement of NATO's offensive capacities directly on Russia's borders, and measures taken to deploy a global anti-missile defence system" in Central Europe.
The alarmed tone of the doctrine comes in the wake of repeated protests by Moscow over the NATO's decision to position troops in alliance member states like Poland or the Baltic states that border Russia.
The Kremlin has also opposed NATO's American-driven plan to base its anti-missile defence shield in Central Europe, which Moscow views as directed foremost against Russia.
The doctrine's harsher tone also follows Wednesday's decision by Ukraine to abandon its non-aligned status -- a symbolic move that provoked Moscow's anger by potentially clearing the way for Kiev to request NATO membership.
Despite its new anti-NATO edge, the Russian doctrine remains primarily defensive in nature, calling any military action by Russia feasible only after all non-violent options to settle a conflict have been exhausted.
In the same vein, it notes the "decreased likelihood of a large-scale war against Russia," although it does list a number of increasing threats to stability like territorial disputes, "interference in the internal affairs" of nations, and the use of strategic arms in space.
Russia's new military doctrine also introduces the concept of "non-nuclear dissuasion" based on maintaining a high degree of preparedness of conventional military forces, as well as active participation in regional security organisations like the Commonwealth of Independent States made up of nine former Soviet Republics; and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation formed by Russia, China, and several ex-Soviet Caucasian republics.
Despite the mainly defensive focus, the revised Russian position reserves the right to use the country's nuclear arsenal in the event of aggression against Russia or its allies, or in case of "threat to the very existence of the state."
Among the principal duties listed in the doctrine for the country's armed forced during times of peace is the protection "of Russia's national interests in the Arctic," a strategic region in Russia's future energy development to which the United States and Canada also lay claim.
© 2014 AFP