I have been arguing with some in the Russian community who support Putin and his policies. No one changed their opinions. So I decided to list facts. Just the facts about Russia and the European Union. The facts prove in my opinion that not the EU, nor the US is interested in confrontation with Russia.
EU investment in Russia.
The EU is the most important investor in Russia. It is estimated that up to 75% of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Russia come from EU Member States (including Cyprus). http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/russia/
Over the past decades, NATO reached out to Russia with a series of partnership initiatives, culminating in the foundation of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002. No other country has such a privileged relationship with NATO. http://www.nato.int/cps/eu/natohq/topics_111767.htm?
Europe’s military spending
A combination of austerity-driven budget cuts and historical wariness of military spending mean that among EU Member States in NATO, only Estonia, Greece and the UK met the alliance’s target of 2% of GDP spent on defense last year. In 2012, EU Member States spent an average of roughly 1.5% of GDP on defense. In real terms, total defense spending has been decreasing in the EU since 2006, dropping about 10% from 2006 to 2011. http://www.debatingeurope.eu/2014/09/24/peaceful-eu-countries-increase-defence-spending/#.VLHqLivF-7I
Leaders in the region, who have reacted to Russia’s occupation of Crimea by expressing fears that they could be next, are now taking solace in their alliances. “Thanks be to God, we are NATO members,” exclaimed Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite last week. This month, Norway is hosting 16,000 NATO soldiers for previously planned cold-weather training exercises on the Russian border, much to the Russians’ displeasure. Among those participating in Operation Cold Response are 1,400 Swedish troops under the Nordic nation’s limited partnership with the alliance. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/after-crimea-sweden-flirts-with-joining-nato/284362/
US missile defense system
Two recent editorials from Heritage fellows have criticized the Obama administration for abandoning Eastern European allies. According to the editorials, Obama has given up proposed missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic (sometimes called the “third site”). They argue that this will serve to embolden Russia and increase our vulnerability to Iran’s missile capabilities. http://csis.org/blog/obama-throwing-eastern-europe-under-bus
The situation after the invasion in Ukraine.
Russia is currently engaged in the largest nuclear weapons buildup since the end of the Cold War. It is planning to spend over $55 billion on its missile and air defense systems in the next six years, compared to about $8 billion a year that the U.S. spends on its missile defense programs.
Russia has over 1,400 nuclear warheads deployed on long-range ballistic missiles. These missiles can reach the U.S. within 33 minutes. It is also engaged in ballistic missile modernization and is reportedly developing intermediate-range ballistic missiles that are prohibited under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the U.S. These missiles are most threatening to allies in the European theater. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/us-missile-defense-policy-after-russias-actions-in-ukraine
Germany and Russia.
The EU has imposed new sanctions to prevent Vladimir Putin from further escalating the crisis in Ukraine. Berlin has played a leading role in the punitive actions, despite protests from the German business community. There’s no turning back for Merkel.
Germany would prefer to do business with Russia.
“About 6,200 German companies are engaged in Russia, some of them very strongly,” Anton Boerner, head of the BGA exporters’ body, told the Dortmunder Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper. “For them, economic sanctions would be a real catastrophe.” http://rt.com/business/germany-russia-sanctions-businesses-365/
Investments in Russia.
Russia has been cited as the worst place to invest among the biggest world economies in light of the conflict in Ukraine, according to foreign investors polled by Bloomberg in their quarterly Global Market Investor’s Poll. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-is-worst-place-for-foreign-investment-poll-says-/500038.html
Crimea under Russia
Since Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula 10 months ago, more than $1 billion in real estate and other assets have been stripped from their former owners, according to estimates from the owners and lawyers. The assets include banks, hotels, shipyards, farms, gas stations, the major bakery, a vital dairy and even the storied lots of Yalta Film Studio, which 50 years ago made this now shabby seaside resort the Hollywood of the Soviet Union. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/world/seizing-assets-in-crimea-from-shipyard-to-film-studio.html?_r=0
Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine.
Eleva Vasilieva, a human rights activist and the group’s founder, says that the total number of deaths of Russian soldiers and mercenaries in Ukraine warfare could be about 4,000.
“We don’t know the number of wounded and those who could be killed of wounds as this figure is hidden,” she (Vasilieva) said at a press briefing in Kiev.
“Under Ilovaisk on Aug. 25-27, when the Russian troops were deployed, we recorded the first thousand Russian officers (killed) just in two days,” she added. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-war-in-ukraine-is-killing-lots-of-russians-cdf321c369
Scandinavia and near Baltic countries.
Throughout 2014, an unprecedented number of air space violations and incidents have required NATO Baltic Air Policing to scramble jets in response. Most significantly, there has been a dramatic increase in Russian military exercises in the area. Such air space violations have been equal-opportunity-bullying, targeting Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania alike. The goal of these increased military activities in or near Nordic/Baltic space is to undo the emergence of a collective defense system in the region. http://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/11/17/putin-targets-the-scandinavians/
Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994, that Russia broke.
The Presidents of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment. http://www.cfr.org/nonproliferation-arms-control-and-disarmament/budapest-memorandums-security-assurances-1994/p32484
About freedom of speech in Russia. 56 Journalists Killed in Russia since 1992/Motive Confirmed. https://cpj.org/killed/europe/russia/
So in conclusion I am asking my readers to draw their own conclusions based on facts.