Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 4

Speaking to various audiences in Kiev January 4, Russian defense minister Pavel Grachev underscored Russia’s desire to create a CIS multilateral security system and called for closer cooperation with Ukraine within the CIS framework. He added that Russia would propose a one-year extension of the 1992 Yalta agreements on the Black Sea Fleet. CIS security agreements remain largely declaratory and the so-called peacekeeping operations within the CIS remain predominantly Russian affairs. Ukraine, which would be a cornerstone of any CIS defense union, has refused to sign the CIS Collective Treaty, choosing instead to tread a careful path between Russia and NATO. Grachev said Moscow seeks to strengthen bilateral security relations between the two countries and announced a joint meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministry collegiums to be held in March.

In line with recent statements from Moscow, Grachev reiterated Moscow’s opposition to the enlargement of NATO, which he depicted as a threat to Russia. NATO enlargement, he said, would compel Russia to establish its own military coalition and "review its approach to the role…of tactical nuclear weapons and revise its commitments under military agreements." He criticized proposals to introduce foreign troops and nuclear weapons onto the territories of new NATO members and again called for the OSCE to supplant NATO as the leading institution of a "non-bloc" European security system. (7) Grachev’s threat to create an anti-NATO coalition rings hollow, particularly as it depends upon Russia’s other stated objectives of strengthening the CIS as a military alliance and achieving closer defense cooperation with Ukraine. To date, Moscow has been unsuccessful on both counts.

Lebed Will Not Seek Duma Defense Post.