Russia saber rattling gets the West talking. Is a deal with NATO next?

Fred Weir, special correspondent

The Kremlin has watched all the former Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact allies and three former Soviet republics join NATO, while the front line between NATO and Russia has moved about 600 miles to the east. The Russians claim, with considerable evidence, that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given strong verbal assurances that NATO would move “not one inch” eastward.

Now, Vladimir Putin seems to believe that it’s finally time to get that in writing.

No one in Moscow seems able to explain why Mr. Putin has chosen the current moment to issue an ultimatum over NATO’s oft-restated intention to eventually bring Ukraine into the alliance. But most analysts agree that the Kremlin initiated suspicious troop movements along the Ukrainian border, in Russia’s Western Military District, late last month in order to force exactly that conversation to happen.

Few believe that Russia actually intends to invade Ukraine – a war that would be intensely unpopular at home. Nevertheless, the Kremlin keeps reiterating that military options are on the table if its concerns aren’t satisfactorily addressed. Läs artikel