NATO membership for Baltic states means Russia will be cut in two - expert
Source: Radio Mayak, Moscow, in Russian 1600 gmt 13 May 03
[Presenter] Aleksandr Pikayev, an expert at the Carnegie Centre [Moscow-based think tank], takes a different view. He does not see any particular progress in cooperation between Russia and NATO [previous studio commentator did].
[Pikayev] The Russia-NATO Council, set up with much pomp and ceremony last autumn, has still not demonstrated that it can work. True, this is in part to do with the war in Iraq. Also, Russia is still of course worried about NATO's eastward expansion. After the Baltic states join NATO, this biggest military machine in the world will come right up to Russia's borders and be just a few hundred kilometres from Moscow. NATO will to all intents and purposes be dividing Russian territory into two - Kaliningrad will be isolated next to Lithuania and the latter will be in NATO.
Of course, this isn't a great catastrophe, but Russia would like to see its security interests taken into account and, in particular, to see the Baltic states join the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. Their joining this treaty would offer Russia certain guarantees against any sudden deployment on the territory of the Baltic states right near Russia's vital centres of some significant US armed force or armed force of other countries in NATO.
The Baltic states are so far not inclined to sign this treaty, simply because America links their joining it with the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Dniester region and Georgia. And while there has been obvious progress on the former, Russia is at a complete deadlock at the moment in its talks with Georgia.