December 26, 2021 5:24 p.m.
Another sign of the differences between NATO and Russia on the question of eastward expansion: The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Sakharova, has contradicted the latest statements by NATO and US representatives. It makes it clear: NATO expansion is out of the question.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharova rejected statements by the United States and other Western countries that talks on security guarantees will not address the issue of NATO’s non-eastward expansion.
“Statements have emerged in the US and a number of Western countries that the issue of NATO’s non-enlargement will not be taken into account in the upcoming discussions on the Russian proposal to develop legally binding security guarantees,” she said in a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Saturday released would.
“In this context, we emphasize: the non-expansion of NATO and the non-deployment of weapons systems that threaten our security near the Russian borders are the most important key issues in the upcoming negotiations with the US and NATO. Those that affect the essence of Russia Position, should understand this very clearly “The statement went on to say.
Last week, Russia launched a diplomatic offensive with the publication of two draft treaties to NATO and the United States – with the aim of reaching a binding security agreement between Russia and NATO and the United States. If the alliance fails to comply with Russian demands, Russia threatens to “create counter-threats” for the US and other members of the alliance.
Although many observers call Russian demands an ultimatum, the Russian diplomats point out that they clearly have the character of an offer and contain a willingness to provide mutual security guarantees.
Several representatives of the alliance reacted negatively to the Russian advance. On the other hand, several heads of state and government of some large NATO countries have shown their willingness to talk. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week that negotiations with the US will take place in the first few days of January.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry did not mention in her comment which statements by which people she was responding to. In the last few days it has been NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki who have commented on the Russian diplomatic advance.
“We are ready to sit down and talk to Russia in the NATO-Russia Council. However, we will not compromise on basic principles,” said Stoltenberg on Thursday dpa. “We cannot question NATO’s right to protect and defend all allies, nor the fundamental principle that every nation has the right to choose its own path,” he said. At a diplomatic meeting on Wednesday he was more specific and explicitly mentioned Ukraine as a desired candidate for membership:
“NATO is ready to enter into a dialogue with Russia, but it excludes compromises when it comes to Ukraine’s right to go its own way and apply for membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.”
Russia is accused by the West of threatening Ukraine directly with an alleged deployment of its troops on the border with Ukraine. Nonetheless, the outgoing NATO Secretary General left it open whether he suspected that the troop movements were primarily an attempt by Russia to extort concessions from NATO on security issues. “There is uncertainty about Russia’s intentions,” he said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said something similar: “Washington is not ready to accept Russia’s proposals on security guarantees in connection with NATO.” At a briefing on Thursday she added verbatim:
“Russia has made proposals, some of which we would agree to, some of which we would not, such as the proposals on NATO.”
Regarding the content of possible talks, the White House said that the demands from Moscow for additional security guarantees from NATO would also be discussed. Some things have been suggested “that we will never agree to,” said a senior official from the dpa was quoted. “I think the Russians probably know that on some level.”
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