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NATO rejects Russia’s security demands

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Despite diplomatic efforts, talks between NATO and Russia continue to be marked by strong discrepancies. Moscow’s security proposals and the situation in Eastern Europe are the points that generate the most controversy between both parties. With the aim of bringing positions closer together, these issues have been the main topics to be discussed at the recent meeting between the Council of the Atlantic Alliance and the Russian Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Alexander Grushko and Alexander Fomin.

The Russian delegation stressed its red lines, previously exposed by Putin on several occasions. The deputy ministers insisted on the withdrawal of NATO troops in countries bordering Russia; not only in the Ukraine, where they ask that the shipment of weapons be suspended, but also in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, members of the Alliance. Likewise, Grushko and Fomin urged NATO not to include countries close to Russia. “The freedom to choose ways to ensure one’s security must not be implemented in a way that infringes the legitimate security interests of others,” said Deputy Foreign Minister. Moscow has reiterated its right to guarantee the security of its borders in the medium and long term. For this reason, for negotiations with NATO to move forward, Russia needs guarantees that the Alliance will not expand into its areas of influence.

PHOTO/KREMLIN – Russian President Vladimir Putin

However, the US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman turned down Russian requests. “We are not going to accept that NATO cannot expand further,” he stressed. In response, Grushko warned that if NATO opts for “the policy of deterrence,” Russia will respond “with a policy of counter-deterrence.” “If it turns into intimidation, we will respond with counter-intimidation. If you are looking for vulnerabilities in Russia’s defense system, we will look for NATO vulnerabilities. It’s not our choice, but we have no other options if we don’t.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also noted that Russian representatives described the Alliance as “an element of instability” in places like Yugoslavia or Libya. Likewise, Stoltenberg has warned of a “real risk of new armed conflicts in Europe” at the press conference after the meeting. “There are significant differences between the NATO allies and Russia,” he acknowledged. However, he indicated the possibility of negotiation in some aspects, such as arms control.

PHOTO/KREMLIN - Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the joint exercises of the North Sea and Black Sea fleets aboard the Russian guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea January 9, 2020
PHOTO/KREMLIN – Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the joint exercises of the North Sea and Black Sea fleets aboard the Russian guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Crimea January 9, 2020

Regarding Ukraine, he emphasized that Kiev has the right to self-defense and accused Moscow of creating the crisis in the country. For this reason, according to Stoltenberg, “the easiest and fastest way” to solve this problem is for Russia to withdraw its troops to the Ukrainian border. In this sense, the Russian Ministry of Defense has clarified that Moscow has offered the Alliance measures to de-escalate the situation. “Russian initiatives have been ignored by NATO. This creates conditions for incidents and conflicts and undermines the foundations of security”, explains the Ministry in a statement published by the state news agency RIA Novosti.

Despite the discrepancies, both Russia and NATO allies expressed the need to resume dialogue and set a schedule for future meetings. In this context, the Secretary General of the Alliance pointed out the positive aspects of the meeting. “30 NATO allies and Russia have sat around the same table and have engaged on substantive issues,” he acknowledged. Grushko, for his part, called the talks “frank, direct, deep and intense.” However, he assured that progress was possible, but there were some areas where Russia could not step back.

AFP/JOHANNA GERON - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
AFP/JOHANNA GERON – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

This summit, the first of its kind in more than two years, is part of the round of dialogue between the West and Russia with the aim of bring positions closer and solve the crisis in Ukraine. Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov began these talks on January 10 in Geneva. The US side again rejected Moscow’s security overtures, while Ryabkov reiterated that Russia had no intention of attacking Ukraine. Along these lines, and with the aim of reaffirming their support for Kiev, the defense ministers of NATO and the European Union are meeting today in Brest.

Subsequently, Vienna will host the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in a “decisive moment for European security”, as Stoltenberg warned. These meetings seek to relax tensions in the east while strengthening the NATO-EU alliance against Russia.

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Usama Younus

Usama Younus is the owner and super admin of the site he's is an expert in news editing, tech and entertainment magazine management, and articles editing E.T.C.

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