The German press reported this week that part of the NATO plan to deter further Russian aggression would include placing NATO forces in Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. But the Obama administration has been reluctant to call these proposed bases “permanent” because of a 1997 NATO agreement with Russia that prohibits deployments of combat troops in former Warsaw Pact countries. The five countries being considered for these NATO deployments are all former members of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet-led cold war treaty established to counter NATO.
It’s not the first seemingly odd semantic move the Obama administration has made since Russia became moving its forces in earnest into mainland Ukraine. President Obama and the State Department have resisted calling Russia’s actions an invasion, even as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has come very close to labeling it that. A little past midnight on August 28, Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt tweeted, “So now an increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory.” He followed that tweet with: “Russia has also sent its newest air defense systems including the SA-22 into eastern Ukraine & is now directly involved in the fighting.”