Russian Tension with Ukraine, West

Two stories involving Russia from this morning’s Media Roundup caught our eye. First, Russia and Ukraine avoided a confrontation over gas, but the former Soviet republic’s flirtation with NATO caused Vladimir Putin to threaten targeting the country with nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that the “Pentagon is trying to assess whether a low-level flight by a Russian bomber over American warships in the Pacific Ocean last weekend was a sign that Moscow is returning to a worrisome ‘Cold War mind-set.'”

The LA Times article mentions tensions over the U.S. missile defense system and Washington’s “strengthened relations with Ukraine, Georgia and other Russian neighbors.”

But is Russia upset over strengthened relations in general, or the fact that they involve the possibility of Russian neighbors joining a military alliance whose historical raison d’être has been countering Russian power?

For more on how Ukraine’s NATO flirtation is playing with Russia — and inside Ukraine — see this WPR piece by Marianna Gurtovnik.