Amid reports of Russian troops crossing the border into Ukraine, a former Canadian ambassador to the region says Russia is trying to limit European and NATO influence in the region.Listen
About one thousand troops have crossed into Ukraine according to various intelligence sources, but it’s not clear whether they are Russian troops or others supported by Russia. “I would say that given the rate of developments that there’s no doubt that the Russian government is supporting this fully and that these troops for the most part are Russian troops,” says Michael Bell, former a Canadian diplomat in charge of Central and Eastern Europe.
Russia is concerned about the growing influence of the European Union among its former republics and in the Baltic States, and the fact that some have joined NATO. Bell says Russia has decided to draw the line with Ukraine and aims to “ensure it will be more of a neutral state subject to Russian influence.”