Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday, December 23, spoke about the goals and tasks facing the negotiators of the Russian Federation in consultations with the United States on security guarantees.
“We must put an end to the advancement of NATO, NATO infrastructure, NATO capabilities further east. We must exclude Ukraine from joining NATO. We must guarantee our security, at least in those parameters and at the boundaries that we had at the time of the conclusion of the Russia-NATO Founding Act in 1997, “the International Life magazine quoted Ryabkov as saying.
According to him, the American side is aware of Russia’s priorities, the US National Security Assistant Jake Sullivan is in contact with high-ranking officials in Moscow.
“Discussions and conversations should be followed by concrete steps. Therefore, as before, we are awaiting a concrete response from the American side when it is ready to launch a bilateral dialogue with us. <…> Let’s deal with this serious issue, ”the diplomat concluded.
On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published draft agreements between Russia and the United States and NATO on security guarantees. As follows from the documents, in particular, the alliance should refuse to conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine and other states of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia. According to a White House source, the US presidential administration found some of the proposals useful and others unacceptable.
Ryabkov said that drawing Ukraine into NATO and the prospect of deploying NATO strike missile systems near the borders of the Russian Federation are an unacceptable threat to security.
The day before, on December 16, the United States Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland noted that the United States expects Russia to de-escalate the situation around Ukraine, Washington is open for consultations in the Russia-NATO format, as well as through the OSCE. In addition, she pointed out that the United States, together with European countries, must determine whether there are Russian security concerns that they can mitigate.
There is no official response from NATO on this score yet. As reported on December 20 by The Financial Times, the countries of the alliance have not yet decided on the composition of the participants and the format of negotiations with Russia. The publication, citing sources in NATO, stressed that Western politicians consider Russian demands unacceptable, but would like to avoid an outright refusal.
At the same time, the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov said on December 21 that Russia has a plan “B” if the States and NATO do not respond to Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees.
On December 21, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported that it is ready to become a platform for NATO-Russia talks on security guarantees. The OSCE offers a range of formal and informal mechanisms and tools that can be used to build dialogue and create an atmosphere of trust, the organization noted.