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The Daily Vertical: That Sovereignty Thing, Again (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Russia's neighbors should not worry where Moscow places its nuclear weapons.

Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, for example, should not be a concern for Lithuania.

Why not? Well, in remarks to TASS, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia has the sovereign right to deploy armaments anywhere on its territory.

Which is technically true, although Western countries have accused Russia of violating its obligations under the INF Treaty with the Iskander deployments.

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But there is also another issue at stake here.

Peskov stressed Russia's sovereign right to deploy armaments on its territory.

But, at the same time, Moscow has recently raised strenuous objections to Georgia's recent acquisition of Javelin anti-tank missiles and a French air-defense system, as well as its participation in a U.S.-funded Defense Readiness Program.

Moscow has also loudly objected to the rotation of NATO battle groups in the Baltic states and Poland.

And Russia, of course, did everything in its power to prevent Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova from signing Association Agreements with the European Union.

Now, according to Peskov's logic, Russia should view all of these things as the sovereign choices of the Georgians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians.

But, of course, it doesn't.

Now I know I harp on the Kremlin's double standard about sovereignty a lot.

But I do so for a reason.

I do so because it goes to the very heart of the problem between Russia and its neighbors -- and it can't be stressed enough.

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