sputnik news

Lavrov: US Did Not Respond to Main Question, On Non-Expansion of NATO
Sputnik News, Jan 27 2022

In its response to Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, the US has left the main question about non-expansion of NATO to the east unanswered, Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday. Lavrov told reporters:

There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document. The main issue is our clear position that further NATO expansion to the east and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation are unacceptable. There is a reaction that allows us to count on the start of a serious conversation, but on secondary issues. As for the content of the response, I think it will become known to the general public in the very near future, because, as our American colleagues told us, although they prefer the document to remain for a confidential diplomatic dialogue, it has been agreed with all US allies and with the Ukrainian side. Therefore, I have no doubt that in the very near future it will leak.

Lavrov stressed that Moscow is considering the US and NATO responses on security guarantees as a whole. According to Lavrov, the US deliberately aims to avoid discussing the need to follow the principle of indivisibility of security, and Russia is not ready to accept this. Lavrov said:

The principle that one should not strengthen one’s security at the expense of the security of others is deliberately avoided. Neither the Istanbul nor the Astana declarations are mentioned by our Western partners in the discussions on European security that are currently taking place. We cannot accept this.

The minister added that Russia will soon send an official request to the US and NATO and ask why they regard provisions of the principle of indivisibility of security separately from each other. Russia’s next step after receiving the responses of the US and NATO to its European security proposals will be determined by President Putin. Lavrov concluded:

After an interdepartmental consultation, we will brief the president, and the president will decide on our next steps.

In December, the US received the list of security proposals from Russia expected to de-escalate tensions between Moscow and NATO over the situation in eastern Ukraine. The draft agreements were later published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website. The documents suggest that the sides provide legally binding written guarantees to each other not to deploy troops and military equipment in areas where they could be viewed as a threat to the other side and also restrict the deployment of Russia and US nuclear weapons abroad. In addition to that, Moscow suggested that the US and NATO make a commitment not to continue the alliance’s expansion to the east and never accept Ukraine or any other former Soviet republic into NATO.

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