Russia made this Friday two treaty proposals to drastically limit the western military presence near its borders and wants to negotiate them “as of Saturday” with the United States to avoid an increase in tensions.
Documents are published in full tensions between Russia and the West over the border with Ukraine, where Americans and Europeans accuse Moscow of preparing a military offensive.
The two texts, called NATO “Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation on security guarantees” and “Agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and the Member States”, envisage preventing a further expansion of the Alliance and the establishment of US military bases in former Soviet countries.
It is not usual for diplomats to publicly present these types of working documents, discretion allows negotiators more freedom when working.
A senior Washington official stated that The United States hoped to respond on the format of the talks “over the next week,” but made it clear that it is not enthusiastic about the proposals.
“We are ready to talk about it. Having said that, there are things in the Russians’ document that are unacceptable ”, said this senior official on condition of anonymity. “If there are more aggressions against Ukraine, they will have a very high price and serious, very serious consequences”He added.
The White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki reacted on Friday by warning that “there will be no talks on European security without our European allies and partners.”
“It is essential to put the Russian security guarantees, and that have legal value”Said Sergei Riabkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the presentation of the texts to the press. He also proposed opening negotiations in Geneva from “Saturday, December 18”.
The documents have four pages and nine and eight articles respectively. For Riabkov, they must serve to re-establish Russian-Western cooperation in the “total absence of mutual trust”, and by NATO’s “aggressive” policy “on the borders of Russia”.
It is about “relaunching the relationship from a blank page “Riabkov stated. President Vladimir Putin, for his part, already asked on Tuesday “immediate” negotiations on security guarantees to Russia. Putin had already made such legal demands on his American counterpart, Joe Biden, during his video conference in early December.
In the documents filed by Russia on Friday, all members of the Atlantic Alliance would undertake not to expand NATO and not to carry out any “military activity on the territory of Ukraine or in the other countries of Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia.”
Jen Psaki ruled out any “commitment” on Friday because “all countries have the right to decide their own future and their foreign policy without being subjected to outside influence.”
The expansion of the NATO to former Soviet republics like Ukraine and Georgia (currently candidates) is a red line for Russia. Russian analyst Konstantin Kalatshev believes that the proposals presented on Friday were “Unreal.” “The United States will see them as a propaganda coup, a communication coup, to divert attention from Moscow’s actions and focus on those of NATO,” he said.
“For Russia, it is important to show that the threat does not come from her, and that she has no intention of attacking Ukraine or starting a war with the United States,” he added.
Moscow annexed the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula and is suspected of supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in a war that has left nearly 13,000 dead since 2014. In addition, it easily defeated Georgia in 2008.
The West refuses to close the NATO door on these two countries, but they have frozen, de facto, their adhesion processes.
Washington, NATO and the European Union accuse Moscow from concentrating tens of thousands of soldiers on Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks, with its sights set on a possible invasion, and threatening Russia with unprecedented sanctions.
During a phone conversation on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodomir Zelenski, British support and that the United Kingdom “will use all its diplomatic and economic powers, in concert with its allies, to prevent any Russian aggression against Ukraine”, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
The Kremlin rejects these accusations and claims, on the contrary, that it is threatened by NATO, which arms Ukraine and increases its military presence in the Black Sea.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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