Moscow skeptical of US and NATO responses on security guarantees

Under what scenario can events unfold The US and NATO handed over their written responses to Russian proposals for security guarantees. In the main, they did not satisfy Moscow. What moves the parties can take next – in the material RBC Moscow was skeptical of the US and NATO responses on security guarantees” />

How the US and NATO responses were transmitted

On the evening of January 26, the United States and NATO handed over to Russia written responses to its demands for security guarantees in Europe. The document prepared in Washington was brought to the Russian Foreign Ministry by US Ambassador John Sullivan, who handed it over to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko. As US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken explained to reporters, a copy of the document was also sent to Congress.

“The document we handed over includes the concerns of the United States and its allies and partners regarding Russian actions that undermine security, an assessment of the topics of concern to Russia, in essence, and our own ideas in areas where we could find common ground,” — said Blinken.

Among the areas for discussion, the Secretary of State highlighted the deployment of offensive missile systems in Ukraine, military exercises and maneuvers in Europe, potential arms control measures, greater transparency, and various risk mitigation measures. Blinken also noted that Washington does not intend to publish the document, because they believe that diplomacy has a better chance of success subject to confidential negotiations. This is what Washington expects from Moscow as well. In the coming days, according to Blinken, he is scheduled to have a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The decision on how to respond remains with Russia, the United States is ready for all scenarios, the Secretary of State emphasized.

“We are open to dialogue, we prefer diplomacy, and we are ready to move forward where communication and cooperation is possible if Russia chooses to de-escalate its aggression against Ukraine, stop its provocative rhetoric and move towards a dialogue on future security in Europe.” ,— Blinken summed up. He also again reminded that Washington will not abandon the policy of “open doors”; NATO.

The response of the North Atlantic Alliance was handed over to the Russian Ambassador in Brussels, Alexander Tokovinin, after which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a press conference on this matter. He said that NATO will continue to adhere to the policy of “open doors” and will respect any choice of Ukraine. “We have made it clear that we will not compromise on our main principles, and one of them is that any country has the right to choose its own path,” — he said.

Stoltenberg named three areas in which the alliance could interact with Russia, namely: the restoration of offices in Moscow and Brussels, the establishment of contacts between the military and the creation of a civilian hotline; dialogue on European security; efforts to reduce risks, increase transparency and control over arms.

Stoltenberg, in particular, mentioned the holding of joint briefings within the Russia —NATO Council, which the parties could go to. Finally, the NATO Secretary General called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, where they, according to him, are against the will of these countries.

Blinken's and Stoltenberg's statements were expected. Earlier, Bloomberg, citing an EU diplomat, reported that the United States is unlikely to give a specific answer in its response to Russian demands, but will name areas in which the United States and its allies are ready to meet Russia halfway. It was also expected that the United States would point out to Moscow those of its actions that cause concern among NATO allies in Europe. The expert community was also sure that Washington and Brussels would not be able to satisfy Moscow's main demands, in particular, the non-expansion of NATO to the East.

What were Moscow's first comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Thursday that he believes the American response to Russia's proposals will soon become known to the public. “As for the content of the response, I think it will become known to the general public in the very near future, because, as our American colleagues told us, although they prefer that the document be left for a confidential diplomatic dialogue, it is agreed with all US allies and with the Ukrainian side. Therefore, I have no doubt that in the very near future it will “leak”,— explained Lavrov.

According to him, the American response allows us to count on the beginning of a serious conversation, but about secondary issues. “There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document,” — recognized by the minister. He recalled that Moscow's main demand is the non-expansion of NATO to the east and the deployment of strike weapons in such territories that could threaten Russia. Lavrov added that the responses received from the United States and NATO will be considered as a whole, and after interdepartmental coordination, they will be reported to the President of Russia. He will decide on further steps.

The Russian leader's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Blinken and Stoltenberg, during their press conferences, “clearly stated their rejection of the main concerns that were outlined by the Russian Federation.” “Based on this, there is not much cause for optimism. But I still would refrain from making any conceptual assessments, — he noticed. According to Peskov, the documents transferred to the US and NATO are already with Vladimir Putin, and it will take some time to analyze them. The presidential spokesman suggested not to rush to conclusions.

“There are and should always be prospects for continuing the dialogue, this is both in our interests and in the interests of the Americans. And as if diametrically opposed sometimes our views did not diverge, dialogue is always needed. But as regards the substantive dialogue on the draft documents that we have submitted, there are issues of a different nature here. But I repeat once again, I will not get ahead of myself, — he finished.

How the situation might develop further

According to Andrei Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, there are two fundamentally different scenarios for the development of events. Moscow can say that since the main Russian demands have not been met, there is nothing to talk about, because without solving the main problems, the Russian security situation cannot be improved. Then it is necessary to deal with issues that relate to military-technical measures in response to the threats that Russia sees in NATO's actions, he explained in an interview with RBC.

The second option— to say that something is better than nothing, continues Kortunov. Then it would be possible to talk about topics where mutual understanding is planned, including a moratorium on medium-range and shorter-range missiles, security Russia— NATO and the corridor of low activity. Arms control talks are also possible, the expert does not rule out.

“I expect the Russian government to reject the US and NATO responses as insufficient. Then everything depends on the decision of President Putin. I hope he will continue discussions and negotiations with the US, NATO and other parties. In the worst case, he can order a military operation in Ukraine,»,— Richard Weitz, director of the Center for Military-Political Analysis at the Hudson Institute, told RBC. under the pretext of the need to balance American military supplies to Kiev. Such a step would actually publicize what Russia has been doing for many years, the expert concluded.

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