On July 1, the Valdai Club hosted a discussion on the results of the NATO summit and the new strategic concept of the alliance.
NATO’s Madrid summit is the first meeting of the alliance’s leaders after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. One of the outcomes of the summit will be the adoption of a new strategic concept for NATO, which will “reflect the new security environment” and determine the alliance’s policy for the next 10 years. In connection with the Ukrainian crisis, it is planned to change the position of NATO towards Russia, which was officially considered a partner of the alliance in previous years. Also, for the first time, the concept will reflect NATO’s position on China.
Prospects for expanding the alliance will also be one of the main topics of the summit. The five waves of NATO expansion inevitably affected Russia’s vital interests in Europe and created significant tensions that erupted repeatedly into military crises in Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine. Apart from the post-Soviet countries, neutral Finland and Sweden, located close to the “frontier”, were the ones that felt the growing confrontation between Russia and the West most acutely. The possibility of their formal accession to the bloc will fundamentally change the security situation in northern Europe. The potential deployment of US forces and assets near Russian borders, including missile and anti-missile weapons, will multiply the risks and create a threat to the security of Finland and Sweden that did not exist before.
It is obvious that neither Helsinki nor Stockholm will be accepted into the alliance within the framework of the Madrid summit because of Turkey’s principled position. Ankara plays a role close to autonomous in the bloc and requires significant concessions and consideration of its position. However, it is possible that Finland and Sweden will join NATO in the coming years.
How could relations between Russia and NATO change following the adoption of the new strategic concept? What are the prospects for Finland and Sweden to join NATO in the coming years? Is a direct clash between Russia and NATO possible? What role will the Turkish factor play in Russia-NATO relations in the coming years? Participants in the discussion addressed these and other issues.
Alexander Grushko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Gregory Simons, author and researcher from Uppsala, Sweden
Working languages: Russian, English.