Between 15–17 February, a RUSI delegation visited Moscow as part of a longstanding UK–Russia security dialogue hosted by RUSI and supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
The RUSI delegation consisted of Distinguished Fellows Sir John Scarlett and the Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Deputy Director-General Malcolm Chalmers, Director of International Security Studies Dr Neil Melvin, and Research Fellow for the Middle East Dr Tobias Borck.
At this critical time, the delegation held discussions with high-level Russian representatives, including Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the President of Russia for the Middle East, and Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation, as well as with leading Russian experts, including from RUSI’s partner, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).
The talks focused on the core issues of strategic stability, including European security, the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, arms control and confidence building issues, as well as the security of the Middle East.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers commented:
Our discussions with senior Russian officials provided a salutary reminder of how far relations between Russia and NATO have worsened over the last year, above all on the issue of Ukraine. I went to Moscow thinking that a large-scale intervention was probable in the coming months. I left believing that it is now highly likely. I hope I am wrong.
Dr Neil Melvin said:
I was struck by the complete disconnect between how the current crisis is understood in Moscow and Western capitals. This is rooted in parallel understandings of what has happened in international relations since the end of the Soviet Union. The Russian leadership appears to view the crisis as a historic moment to roll back a wide range of perceived injustices against Russia and to remake the post-Cold War world to Moscow’s advantage.
Dr Neil Melvin
Director, International Security