Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new 5-year military doctrine, which taps NATO’s eastern expansion as a key external risk to the Russian Federation. The previous doctrine, in 2010, said materially the same thing.
NATO officials expressed shock at the doctrine, even though Russia has publicly made its concerns clear for years now, and NATO continues to talk up its eastern expansion, insisting they are no threat to Russia.
Of course, every NATO military conference held this year has centered on the idea of Russia being a military threat to Europe, and NATO nations have been pressing a military buildup along the Russian frontier at the exact same time, so the Russian response is really just mirroring the NATO one.
The concern about eastern expansion of NATO looms large for Russia right now, as earlier this month Ukraine’s government scrapped its long-standing neutrality, and it is openly seeking NATO membership.
Indeed, virtually every neighbor Russia has on its western border is seeking NATO membership, and many have territorial disputes with Russia. Those disputes are holding up NATO membership in the cases of Georgia and Ukraine, but the US and other nations looking for an excuse for military buildup are backing the expansion hard.