Why does Russia not want Ukraine in NATO?

Educate me…

How would the US feel about Mexico being in a formal military alliance with Russia?

Edit: In this hypothetical, you should probably suppose that most of Central America and large chunks of Europe are also part of this alliance.

How did the US react to Russian missiles in Cuba?

They share language and some culture but are not aligned philosophically. Remember that Ukrainians were Nazi allies and fought against Russia in WW2.Today the Ukrainians want to be free of Russian influence.

This is wrong in so many ways.

They were not Nazi Allies. By far most Ukrainians fought for the Allies. Many Ukrainians were forced into labor by the Germans. They were part of the Soviet Union as we all well know during WWII, before and after for decades.

They had their share of collaborators like many occupied countries, I’m not sure if it could be considered any worse than France though.

To answer the OP:

Same reason a wolf objects to a fat, juicy, tender sheep joining an anti-wolf alliance.

This is the same Ukraine in which Stalin had 10 years prior engineered a famine in which millions died of starvation in one of the richest agricultural lands in the world, right? Seems like the Ukrainians had more reason than most anyone else to view the Nazis as a lesser evil.

Russia has consistently opposed countries which were formerly part of the USSR, or the Warsaw Pact, from joining NATO.

That said, in the case of Ukraine, Russia’s stance and actions in recent years certainly suggest that they have particular designs on that country.

If Ukraine is in NATO, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will start a massive war. If they’re not part of NATO, there will be a lot of teeth gnashing, but the world will let it happen.

I was reading some articles on this recently under a google search for “why is Russia so interested in the Ukraine?” Seems like Russia still has a deep connection with the Ukraine and considers it the heart of the Russian people in many ways. They consider Kiev to be more the mother city than Moscow or St.Petersburg. They feel losing the Ukraine is like losing part of their identity.

Before WWII, what is now the Ukraine used to be split between Poland and Russia. After the Russian Revolution, there was a push to unify the Ukraine, and after that was done the entire Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union.

While Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, NATO was the enemy.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, the Ukraine was one of the first parts to go. Ukrainians had no love for NATO, but you have the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation and to avoid being re-annexed by Russia, the Ukraine formed a partnership with NATO, but did not join NATO.

So basically imagine if Texas broke away from the U.S., and Texas started getting very friendly with China. The rest of the U.S. would want to take back Texas by force and stop China from meddling in our affairs.

Back in the 1990s, there wasn’t much popular support for Ukraine to join NATO. But over the years, Russia has repeatedly piled up a bunch of troops and military equipment near the Ukrainian border, which makes a lot of Ukrainians nervous. Ten years ago, popular opinion was split about 50/50 or so as to whether Ukraine should join NATO. These days, a majority of Ukrainians support it, probably by roughly about a 2/3rd majority. With 1/3 against it there is still some significant opposition. But Russia has watched as support for joining NATO started out as a definite minority and then grew to become the majority view, with every indication currently being that support for it will continue to grow.

As long as the Ukraine remains in a friendly partnership with NATO, Russia can throw a couple hundred thousand or so troops across the border and NATO is under no obligation to retaliate. NATO doesn’t want a major war with Russia, so the expected response would be economic sanctions and a bunch of political rhetoric. Russia doesn’t give two hoots about economic sanctions and rhetoric. It’s a big enough country that sanctions can’t hurt it much.

But as soon as Ukraine joins NATO, any attack on Ukraine would be considered an attack on all of NATO and would force a massive military response.

The Ukraine joining NATO would force a massive political and military change to the situation in the region.

It should also be noted that this area of the world is a hotbed of political and military conflict. The Ukrainian government was overthrown in 2014. The previous Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, was in favor of closer ties with Russia and distancing Ukraine from NATO. After the 2014 revolution, Petro Poroshenko, who is more pro-NATO, became the next president. Since 2017, Ukraine has been ruled by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has publicly claimed that groups of Ukrainians and Russians have been trying to overthrow him.

It’s not exactly the most stable part of the world.

That is the Russian view. The Ukrainian view is that Ukrainian is a separate language from Russia.

Putin also doesn’t want Ukraine embracing democratic principles and respect for human rights, because then Russian people might start to demand those things for Russia as well.

The Russian state is very weak and unstable. It thinks it can strengthen itself by imposing itself on other countries. Ukraine is even weaker than Russia, so it is targeted. The NATO alliance is a security backstop and membership would protect Ukraine from Russia’s bullying.

Russia is making some serious strategic errors. Aggression against Ukraine is like scattering steel rods across a bridge and expecting that to make the bridge sturdier. The instabilities with Ukraine and Russia are going to make both states more unstable. Lots of people are going to die. Even some oligarchs (they’re going to be targets), although many will escape.

I think what Russia really needs is a defense alliance with the U.S. Probably not NATO, because I can’t see Russia integrating into those joint forces, but a separate treaty. Maybe something including U.S., Russia, Japan, South Korea. While Russia is behaving badly right now, they’re not a long-term threat like China is.

As a trust-building measure, NATO invited Russia and other non-NATO states into the Partnership for Peace. Russia has been a member since 1994.

How’s that been working out?

I point it out because Russia’s pushing a false narrative that a NATO presence in the region is inherently aggressive.

NATO has taken concrete steps to dispel this notion.

If Russia really wanted closer defense cooperation, it could have that.

Hmm let me think. You have one country that currently has troops actively fighting another country on its territory, and may be about to launch a full scale invasion. Why would that first country not want that second country signed up to a treaty that would guarantee that the most powerful nuclear armed military on the planet (and several others) has to go to war to support it if it was invaded.

Yup, I’m stumped. No idea.

My brief understanding of the current kerfuffle is Russia’s objection to the possibility of missile defense systems being installed along the Ukraine/Russia border area. AIUI, the former Soviet republics along Europe’s eastern border with Russia (Ukraine, Belarus) were considered a buffer between NATO alliance nations and Russia, after the break up of the USSR. I think Russia was tolerating Ukrainian NATO talk until the prospect of the missiles and other war hardware appearing on it’s border…

In particular, he [Putin] warned against the stationing in Ukraine of missile defence systems similar to those in Romania and Poland. Putin claimed they could serve as cover to deploy offensive weapons such as Tomahawk missiles capable of reaching Moscow in minutes.

So I guess the comparison would be if Mexico wanted to install some Russian military hardware along the Rio Grande across from Texas.

So, serious question. Why is NATO pushing Ukraine membership so hard?

At best it’s an obvious thumb in Russia’s eye to have NATO on their doorstep. It’s both a threat and a humiliation to Russia. At worst it’s an incentive for them to pre-emptively invade before it happens. Or, tied for worst, Ukraine joins NATO and Russia decides this is a good test case to see if they can force NATO to blink over an Article 5 challenge. If they’re right, it’s a serious blow to NATO. If they’re wrong, we risk a much more serious conflict.

So that’s why I struggle to understand why the US keeps pushing for Ukraine to join, rather than working out some diplomatic quid-pro-quo where Russia commits to nonaggression in exchange for Ukraine staying out of NATO. Without that, it seems like the outcomes all range from bad to very bad.