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  5. Leyla Shah: My interview with former Ambassador of USA in Azerbaijan Mr. Matthew Bryza

Leyla Shah: My interview with former Ambassador of USA in Azerbaijan Mr. Matthew Bryza

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– Mr Bryza as you know that, Russian-NATO relations cantinue to deteriorate.
What do you think that about this process?

-I agree that russia-nato relations are continuing to deteriorate. And to be honest, I don’t think NATO really cares about that. Russia seems to think that NATO is really worried about continuing dialogue with Russia. But NATO is from its perspective, is giving a benefit to Russia bowel by allowing there to be a dialogue if Russia doesn’t want to speak. That’s totally fine with NATO. NATO poses, no threat to Russia. NATO is a defensive Alliance that will take military action. Only if one of its members is attacked unlike the collective security Treaty Organization or CSTO which sent troops to put down, protests inside, one of its member states. NATO will never have its forces used on its own territory or on another country’s territory. Unless a member of NATO is attacked. So Russia has decided to create a confrontation with NATO by threatening war in Ukraine, right on the doorstep of NATO. And so if Russia wants bad relations with NATO, NATO is perfectly ready to live with that situation.

– Due to your opinion, what will happen against the backround of this tensions?

-Given how unified and how strongly NATO has reacted against Russia’s threats against Ukraine, and given how strongly NATO has rejected, Russia’s demand said NATO promise, not to expand to include Ukraine or Georgia or other countries and how strongly NATO’s rejected the kremlin’s demand, that NATO withdraw, its military forces that it deployed in new member NATO member States since 1997. I think President Putin faces too difficult choices. Picking either launch limited military operations in Ukraine and try to occupy Donbas in a more visible way. Short of a full invasion of Ukraine. Or he can find a quiet way to back down and to stop threatening Ukraine. Immediately while keeping the pressure on in the future by having military forces in Western Russia, that could threaten Ukraine and what decision he’s going to take. I don’t know. I think he’ll eventually have to find a way to back down because the NATO remains strong and unified in opposing.

Further Russian against aggression against Ukraine. Russia has already invaded Ukraine once and is threatening to do it again. And so the third point is if Russia were to launch a full invasion of Ukraine. I think it could be a disaster for President Putin because unlike in 2014 today the Ukrainian Army is much better equipped and trained and ready to resist Russian attack. In fact, all of Ukrainian Society is Is getting organized to provide a resistance to any possible, second invasion, by Russia of Ukraine. So a full-scale Invasion would be extremely costly for Russia, of course, in terms of money, but also in terms of lives and as God forbid, Russian soldiers were to die in battle. Along with ukrainians when those bodies return to Russia, President Putin will face a lot of anger and a growing political opposition, which could threaten his own.

– If Russia attack to Ukraine again, what will the reaction of West exactly USA?

-Russia of course, has a much larger Army, then does Ukraine and could over sometime, probably destroy all of Ukraine’s military forces, but that would not be a victory, because Russia would then be left with trying to occupy, Ukraine?
When he faces, then enormous opposition around the world and Russia’s isolation from the global economy and huge casualties by Russian soldiers. So, nobody literally, nobody would win such a war and I’m convinced President Putin does not want, such a war knows. It would not be his interest or Russia’s interests as well as not in Ukranian Intrests.

Has anyone who’s been paying attention to international news over the past month or so knows the United States? And its NATO allies have said that, if Russia again attacks, Ukraine, the West’s reaction will be the most painful economic sanctions ever against Russia, which will aim at inflicting deep damage to the Russian economy and could involve even sanctions against Vladimir Putin himself. And it will also include military actions by NATO that are exactly what President Putin is trying to prevent, which means many more NATO troops in Poland and the Balkan States Baltic states with a lot more weaponry and also more Weaponry going to Ukraine. And so after such a military operation by Russia, Russia would feel even more threatened than ever has it is almost ledge that I asked.

-By the way, why is Russia so worried about NATO’s deployment in nearby territories? In short, what is behind Russia’s fear of NATO?

-NATO is definitely not afraid of Russia at all. NATO is defending itself against really unacceptable illegal Russian threats to invade another country and to change International borders in violation of so many of Russia’s own promises. Whether it be the OSCE’s Helsinki, final Act, which makes it unacceptable to threaten the use of force against another country or whether it be the Budapest memorandum of the early 1990s, when Russia promised to respect the, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. If Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons is Russia is violating international law. NATO is not afraid of that made. It was just saying we’re going to defend ourselves against Russia carrying out any further aggression into the territories of NATO member states. In other words, we will crush any Russian attack on NATO territory. And we will inflict extreme pain on Russia’s economy. If Russia invades a country that is a partner of NATO which is Ukraine’s. No fear involved here. It’s just a very strong stance, a very clear stance by NATO’s saying if you attack Ukraine again , you will pay a very painful price.

-A possible Russia-Ukraine war in the region how will influence to Azerbaijan?

-I don’t really see any direct impact of a war between Russia and Ukraine on Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has nothing to do with that conflict. The only possible impact might be that Russia would pay less attention to Azerbaijan or to the entire South Caucasus if it were if it escalated is war with Ukraine. Because you would have to focus so much of its effort on that escalated war with Ukraine. And you know, I let’s be careful in answering there is you know , Russia is at war with Ukraine Russia launched a war with Ukraine in 2014.

Has continued that war. So the real question is is Russia planning to increase its military aspects of that war.

By Leyla Shah

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