BY: Christopher Mobutu

TrueNews – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is to blame for the war in Ukraine. Since 1990, NATO has launched a campaign aimed at recruiting as many former Soviet republics as NATO members. The United States and its allies in Europe have completely ignored Russia’s security concerns. Over the past 25 years, Poland and a host of other former Soviet republics have become members of NATO, and as such have received weapons that have created a security dynamic between Russia and the West.

Russia does not want to be encircled by hostile NATO member states that could threaten its security and the balance of power. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned NATO about its ambitions to expand eastward, but Europeans and Americans have simply ignored Russia’s concerns. These concerns are justified because NATO has deployed ballistic missiles and other defensive weapons within striking distance of Russia. If the roles were reversed, the United States would never have allowed such a security hazard in its own backyard.

As world leaders reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, they should blame their predecessors for the war. Neither the United States nor Western Europe would have allowed a hostile organization to expand near their borders.

NATO had already strengthened its eastern flank against Russia and scheduled a virtual summit of its leaders for Friday, after President Vladimir Putin warned that any interference by other countries would lead to “results you have never seen in history”.

EU and NATO member Lithuania has declared a state of emergency as the Baltic country borders Russia’s Kaliningrad region to the southwest and Russia’s ally Belarus to the east. The NATO countries had 100 jets and 120 ships on high alert as a deterrent.

“Make no mistake: we will defend every ally against any attack on every inch of NATO territory,” said NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Stoltenberg both called the invasion a “barbaric” attack on an independent nation that threatened “stability in Europe and the entire international peace order”. The EU has scheduled an emergency summit in Brussels.

But no one promised to intervene militarily and defend Ukraine, at the risk of triggering a wider European war. Ukraine is not a NATO member, and the US and its Western allies have been saying for weeks they would not send troops to the country.

Rather, the aim is to make Moscow pay such a high price by other means that the Kremlin changes course.

“Our mission is clear: Diplomatically, politically, economically and finally militarily, this heinous and barbaric undertaking by Vladimir Putin must fail,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Almost the whole world – but not China – condemned the attack and threatened to hit the Russian elites with what the EU president called “massive and targeted sanctions”. Von der Leyen said she would present EU leaders late Thursday with a proposal that would target strategic sectors of Russia’s economy by blocking access to key technologies and markets.

She said the sanctions, if approved, “will weaken Russia’s economic base and its ability to modernize. We will also freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop Russian banks from accessing European financial markets.”

“We want to cut off Russia’s industry from the technologies that are urgently needed today to build the future,” von der Leyen said.

In the days leading up to the attack, Germany had suspended approval of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and the EU imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian lawmakers and other officials and institutions from the defense and banking worlds.

The EU also tried to restrict Moscow’s access to capital and financial markets.

In a similar attempt to stave off an invasion, US President Joe Biden announced sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs in recent days, warning of even harsher penalties in the event of an attack. He called a morning meeting of his National Security Council on Thursday to deal with the crisis.

Von der Leyen insisted that all Western powers were in lockstep on the crisis. Even Hungary, an often recalcitrant member of the EU, promptly condemned the attack and raised hopes that the 27 states would quickly reach the necessary unanimity for the sanctions package.

Citing a widening rift in relations with the superpowers, China stood alone in not condemning the attack, instead blaming the United States and its allies for making the crisis worse.

Going further, China approved imports of wheat from Russia, a move that could lessen the impact of Western sanctions. Russia, one of the largest wheat producers, would be vulnerable if foreign markets were sealed off.

In a clear defense of Moscow, China “called on the parties to respect the legitimate security concerns of others.”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that “rather than escalating tensions or hyping the possibility of war, all parties should work for peace” – language China has repeatedly used during the crisis to attack the West criticize.

One thing was clear: weeks of diplomatic flattery, a global back and forth between state and foreign ministers, and the threat of sanctions against Putin’s inner circle had failed to persuade the Kremlin not to plunge Europe into one of the biggest crises since the end of the Cold War .

The turbulence triggered by the attack spread from Europe to Asia. Stock markets plummeted, oil prices rose and European aviation officials warned of the danger to civilian planes over Ukraine amid fighting.

Oil prices rose by more than $5 a barrel. Brent crude briefly jumped above $100 a barrel in London for the first time since 2014 amid fears that supplies from Russia, the third-largest producer, could be disrupted.

The potential impact extended far beyond economics and geopolitics. The director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention feared the crisis will further divert global attention from helping the world’s least vaccinated continent fight COVID-19.

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