Lavrov: NATO expansion east threatens Russian territory
US Avoided Main Question Of NATO Non-Expansion In Written Response: Kremlin
As previously reported, Russia on Wednesday received a hand-delivered written response from the United States to the security proposals Moscow submitted earlier this month to both Brussels and Washington. Russia’s central demand has remained that it needs legal security guarantees of no further NATO expansion eastward.
In a fresh statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that Moscow is reviewing the document, but suggested that the core issue Russia is demanding has been sidestepped in the US document. “There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document,” Lavrov described to reporters.
“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,” the top diplomat explained.
“The content of the document – there is a reaction that allows us to count on the start of a serious conversation, but on secondary issues,” Lavrov added.
He charged Washington with deliberately avoiding the central security issue, while still holding out that it was at least a basis on which to further dialogue:
“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,” Lavrov said.
However, Lavrov said that the next moves will be determined by President Vladimir Putin, who is being briefed on the US response. “After an interdepartmental consultation, we will brief the president, and the president will decide on our next steps,” he explained.
Separately on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov echoed the same charge:
“The numerous statements that our colleagues made yesterday make it clear that as for the major aspects of the draft agreements that we earlier presented to other parties, we can’t say that they took our concerns into account or showed any readiness to take our concerns into consideration.”
Blinken, for the US side, said Wednesday he hopes to discuss the US response directly with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the coming days. But on the central issues of Russia’s requirement that NATO issue legal guarantees vowing no further expansion eastward, Blinken vowed the Western military alliance won’t budge, making clear that…
“From our perspective. I can’t be more clear — NATO’s door is open, remains open, and that is our commitment,” Blinken said.
Meanwhile, Russian media has continued to charge US mainstream media with hyping and stoking tensions…
Amid allegations by US intelligence of an impending “Russian invasion” of Ukraine, @cnn has already altered the country’s borders, labeling the eastern city of Kharkov, the second largest after Kiev, a part of Russia. pic.twitter.com/rhJiwp1uVt
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 26, 2022
“There will be no change,” Blinken emphasized further. However, the written response could still serve to at least keep things on the diplomatic and negotiating playing field, as opposed to stoking further military build-up by both sides.
At the same time, Russia has reiterated its stance that currently soaring military tensions will be lessened if NATO removes forces from Eastern Europe. This after a limited number of NATO jets and ships earlier this week were deployed toward the region, including a half dozen F-15 jets which landed in Estonia. The White House has cited a “sacred obligation” to protect what press secretary Jen Psaki called “our eastern flank”.
Thu, 01/27/2022 – 09:25