For more than 20 years, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with 30 member states, has been working to build a partnership with Russia, developing dialogue, and practical cooperation in areas of common interest. Practical cooperation has been suspended since 2014, in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukraine, which the alliance will never recognize, NATO said in a January 13, 2022 statement.
“Allies’ concerns about Russia’s destabilizing actions and policies go beyond Ukraine. They include provocative military activities near NATO’s borders […]; irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric, military posture and underlying doctrine; and hybrid actions, including attempted interference in election processes, widespread disinformation campaigns, and malicious cyber activities,” the statement said.
According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a nonpartisan U.S.-based initiative, Russia’s ongoing efforts to “destroy faith in democracy” is not just a problem for the United States and Europe. Colombia, for example, fears Russian meddling during its 2022 elections for congress (March) and the presidency (May). The Kremlin has been using disinformation, fake news, and propaganda through its state-run media in Latin America, the U.S.-based nongovernmental organization Global Americans said. This form of political influence is part of a strategy by nondemocratic regimes to broaden geostrategic and territorial goals by building allies, the organization says.
In parallel, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is helping the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro to create insecurity on the Colombian border to undermine its national sovereignty and dismantle its democracy, the U.S.-based Center for a Secure Free Society says in its latest investigative video series Border Wars.
In January, Moscow threatened a possible military deployment in Venezuela and Cuba. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that “Russia has not permanently stationed troops in Latin America, but it has access to [military] bases in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela,” a scenario that might help dictators such as Maduro, Daniel Ortega, and Miguel Díaz-Canel cling to power, the Colombian magazine Semana said.