Earlier this week, Russia received written responses from the US and NATO to the security guarantee proposals presented by Moscow last month in an effort to de-escalate tensions with the West.
Speaking to four major Russian radio stations on Friday, January 28, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, commented on the current situation with the security guarantees. When asked whether a war is likely, now that tensions are being heated up by the West, the foreign minister said that Russia does not want war.
“If it’s up to Russia, there will be no war; Moscow does not want a war, but will not allow the West to grossly ignore its interests,” Lavrov said.
The interview with the Minister follows the delivery of written responses from the US and NATO to Russian security guarantee proposals presented by Moscow in mid-December amid heightened tension over Ukraine. The contents of the responses haven’t been made public, however, US State Secretary Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Yens Stoltenberg revealed they will uphold NATO’s “open door” policy.
One of the proposed paragraphs of the Russian draft agreements would obligate NATO to give written guarantees that it will not expand further to the East. Moscow insists that states that were members of NATO in May 1997, before the first eastern European countries were invited to join the bloc, should not “deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other States in Europe” that weren’t already in place at the time. Commenting on the security guarantee proposal talks, the Russian foreign minister stated that they are ongoing.
“[…] the Americans and NATO, as you know, have been studying the extremely simple proposals concluded in the draft treaty with Washington and the agreement with the North Atlantic Alliance for more than a month. We received answers only the day before yesterday, which, in such a Western style, cast a shadow on negotiations in many ways, but there is some rationality, as I’ve already said, on secondary issues,” Lavrov said.
According to Lavrov, Russia wants to “work honestly” when it comes to its proposals on security guarantees, but the West “hysterically” develops the topic of Russia’s alleged threat to Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly rejected the allegations as baseless, saying that it has no intention to attack anybody and adding that it has the right to move its troops within its own territory.
Lavrov stressed that if the US and NATO do not change their stance on Russia’s security proposals, Moscow will not change its stance too.
“If they insist that they will not change their position, we will not change our position either. It is just that their position is based on false arguments, on a direct misrepresentation of facts, and our position is based on what everyone signed up for. And I do not see any room for compromise,” Lavrov said.