As the Russian spox said on 28 April 2022:
“Russia did not refuse to talk with NATO, despite its adversarial policies. We put forth numerous practical de-escalation and confidence-building proposals for the continent. The Alliance has disregarded all of them.
The United States and its allies refused to respect our main interests and concerns or the philosophy we offered.
This was accompanied by NATO’s expansion, the increased scale of military exercises, the deployment of strike systems near the Russian border, and the aggressive attempts to militarise the post-Soviet space and to turn it into a hostile bridgehead on our doorstep.
Instead of reducing military-political tensions, the NATO countries […] are using Ukrainian nationalists to wage a proxy war against Russia.
[…] We strongly recommend that the United States and NATO countries harbour no illusions that their aggressive behaviour towards nations will remain unpunished.
They should start thinking about the possibility of resuming discussions on a new architecture of European security after what they have done and intend to do. […]
We urge our colleagues to sober up and to ask themselves how they can implement the political obligations on the indivisibility of security in Europe, which they adopted at the top level during the OSCE summits in 1999 and 2010.”
Ukraine is part of the ‘the main thing’, but only a part. It is simply a more pressing or vivid instance of what NATO has done in Romania and wants to do in Poland: surround Russia with a nuclear first strike capability. As the Russian President said 27 May 2016
“…some time ago the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Missile Defence Treaty and started what amounts to undermining the fundamentals of international security. Yet another step has been made now.
Since the early 2000s, we have been persistently repeating the same thing, like a mantra: we will have to respond to it in some way. Nobody listens to us, nobody is willing to have talks with us, we do not hear anything but platitudes, and those platitudes mainly boil down to the fact that this is not directed against Russia and does not threaten Russia’s security.
Let me remind you that initially there was talk about thwarting a threat from Iran, it was all about the Iranian nuclear programme. Where is the Iranian nuclear programme now? It no longer exists. The Unites States themselves initiated the signing of the treaty with Iran. The Iranian nuclear threat does not exist, while the US anti-missile deployment area is being created and was commissioned in Romania.
What is this? These are launch pads and radar stations. Today, 500-kilometre range Iskander land-based missiles are being deployed; in a few years they will be 1000-kilometre range missiles. We even know the approximate date when such missiles will be deployed. How can this not be a threat to us? It is a clear threat to our nuclear forces.
However, there is something else that is even worse: these compact launch pads can accommodate assault missiles with a 2,400-kilometre range, and replacing the missiles is no problem, one only has to change the software, and nobody is going to notice anything, even the Romanians. Isn’t it a threat to us? It certainly is.
That is the reason we have to respond now, and if yesterday some areas in Romania did not know what it is like to be a target, today we will have to take action to ensure our security.
Let me repeat, these are response measures, a response only. We were not the first to take such steps.
The same will be done with regard to Poland. We will wait for certain actions to be taken in Poland. We are not going to do anything until we see missiles on the neighbouring territory. And we have the necessary resources. You saw, the whole world saw our capabilities in terms of medium-range sea and air based missiles. We are not violating anything, but the Iskander land-based missile systems have a brilliant record.”
Ukraine is not at the beginning of the end. No, once Ukraine is settled, it is then the end of the beginning.
On top, Russia promises United States and NATO countries will be punished for their aggressive behaviour to unspecified ‘nations’. Well, Europe is self punishing, but nothing has happened to US yet.
And which countries will do the ‘punishing’? How?
There is much to unfold, and there is no hurry, it seems.
The United States’ 'European Phased Adaptive Approach
(EPAA)' ballistic missile defense system
The aegis ashore missile system is an American missile system
designed to defend NATO countries against medium and
intermediate range ballistic missiles. The idea is that American
warships carrying the aegis missile system combine with aegis
ashore systems deployed in the Romanian 99th Military Base
provide the anti-ballistic missile launch capacity, and
America's command, control, communications, computer, and
intelligence center - the AAMDS Combat Information Center -
provides radar surveillance, tracking, and targeting. There are
24 SAM-3 interceptor missiles deployed per aegis site. (A
further US Navy aegis installation in Poland is expected to be
operational in 2023.)
The incoming ballistic missiles would be shot down in the
midpoint of flight, just outside the atmosphere, when the
incoming ballistic missile is in low earth orbit. The system
uses America's 'Standard Missile-3' (SM-3) to provide the
liftoff and velocity, and a 'Lightweight
Exo-Atmospheric Projectile' to do the final intercept,
hit, and to 'kinetically' destroy the missile ('hit to kill'
Originally the Americans claimed it was not directed against Russia, but as a defense against Iran - in case Iran developed nuclear weapons and at the same time developed missiles with a range that could reach Europe. It was an obvious lie, and the obviousness of the lie was intended simply to be insulting and offensive.
The cells of the Aegis Mk-41 vertical launch system can
actually launch a variety of missiles, not just the SAM-3
anti-ballistic defensive missile.
“The United States is prepared to work toward reaching an understanding with Russia, along with our Transatlantic Allies and partners, on security issues of interest,” according to the document. “We are ready to consider arrangements or agreements with Russia on issues of bilateral concern, to include written, signed instruments, to address our respective security concerns.”In reality, the US missile defense system in Europe is part of the 'boil the frog' system that the US uses in many areas of it's foreign policy and unilateral strong-arming. The first instance of the project seems relatively inoffensive (the frog is in a pot of uncomfortably warm water), there is always some 'cover story' for what is being done, then little by little the heat is turned up (the frog gets used to the heat increasing a little from time to time). Eventually the heat is suddenly turned to boiling point, but by then the frog is exhausted by the heat and can't escape.
US 'leaked' anonymous document 2 February 2022
"Within the broader U.S.-Russian dispute over missile defense, a particular point of contention is the United States’ European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). This initiative seeks to defend NATO against Iran.1 To this end, the United States has deployed SM-3 Block IB interceptors in Romania. It now plans to deploy more capable SM-3 Block IIA interceptors at the same site and at a second site in Poland. The launchers at each of these Aegis Ashore installations are adapted from the U.S. Navy’s MK-41 Vertical Launching System, which is used on ships equipped with the Aegis air and missile defense system to launch SLCMs and other missiles as well as SM-3 interceptors.When the Kremlin published the 2016 transcript of President Putin's remarks, it translated him as saying:
Russia believes that the EPAA may threaten its ability to target the United States with ICBMs. The United States’ November 2020 test of an SM-3 Block IIA interceptor against an ICBM-class target has added to Moscow’s unease.2 The U.S. Department of Defense contends that this interceptor “has the potential” to contribute to the defense of the homeland against “rogue states’” ICBMs, which have less capability to penetrate defenses than Russian ICBMs.3 Moreover, to be useful for homeland defense, SM-3 Block IIA interceptors would need to be deployed near the United States; systems located in Europe would be unable to catch a Russian ICBM. These considerations do not seem to have assured Moscow, however, which may have overestimated the capabilities of the SM-3 interceptor—in particular, its burnout speed (that is, its maximum speed, which is reached immediately after its motors have ceased firing).
Russia’s concerns about the EPAA extend beyond the interception of its ICBMs to the possibility that the launchers could be used to fire offensive missiles, particularly cruise missiles. In response, the U.S. Department of State has indicated that the “Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System” (a term that appears to include more than just the launchers themselves) “lacks the software, fire control hardware, support equipment, and other infrastructure” required for launching offensive missiles.4 It has also stated that “the defensive nature of the Aegis Ashore sites is documented in U.S. basing agreements” with Poland and Romania.5 Russia has made clear that it places little value on these assurances, noting, for example, that the United States has conducted a test launch of a cruise missile from a land-based MK-41 test launcher.6The United States and its NATO allies have compelling reasons to try to address Russia’s concerns. Most importantly, such concerns could spark inadvertent escalation. Moscow has threatened to attack Aegis Ashore installations preemptively in a crisis or conflict—presumably both to ensure the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent and to prevent cruise missile attacks that could undermine its ability to wage a conventional war.7"
Carnegie Endowment for Peace 16 September 2021