The War on Donbas remains frozen, despite occasional ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian military and its allied nationalist battalions, so the seemingly immediate motivation for holding these exercises doesn’t appear to be too relevant. However, for as much as the fighting in Donbas has died down, the conflict in Syria has dramatically escalated with the US’ cruise missile strike against the Homs military base. Although nominally delinked from European affairs, the interconnected nature of today’s world and the pan-Eurasian containment front against Russia means that Middle Eastern events can have European repercussions, especially in the context of Russian-NATO relations. Ties between the two sides are at a historic low and appear to keep getting worse by the week, yet this hasn’t given the bloc reason to pause and reconsider the wisdom of holding exercises right on the Russian border.
Simon ter Schegget, Dutch political activist and Koen Van Dessel, Belgian activist from the #istandwithrussia campaign, stopped by to share their views.
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