Russia is not afraid of any state in the world, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, told journalists ahead of the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in Geneva.
“We are not afraid of anyone, even the US,” Ryabkov said, answering a question from CBS if ‘Ukraine frightens Russia.’
The meeting between Lavrov and Blinken kicked off in Geneva today, on January 21. However, real negotiations on security guarantees are expected to begin only after Moscow receives an official written response from the United States and NATO to its proposals.
According to the Russian President’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, the meeting between Lavrov and Blinken implies “only discussion” of guarantees, the source said.
“We knew in advance that he was not going to hand over [the answers on guarantees], in fact, this meeting is intended for another. We hope that both Lavrov and Blinken will have the opportunity to exchange views and compare the understanding of the results of the three rounds of negotiations,” Peskov said to Izvestia.
Lavrov himself pointed out that the meeting with Blinken was “interim.”
“We have already heard the first reaction of the US, so far verbally, to what was discussed in those formats at the level of our deputies. The reaction, as the American side asked us when it proposed to hold this meeting, was preliminary,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov noted that it is impossible to read the documents prepared by the State Department regarding Russian “disinformation”.
“Of course, it is impossible to read the papers that the State Department specially prepared for today’s meeting. We have a special unit headed by an official representative of the ministry, they are obliged to study all this, and the reaction has already followed. I don’t think we should comment further,” the Foreign Minister said.
In addition, the Russian Foreign Minister added that he had discussed the situation in Ukraine with Blinken.
“We discussed Ukraine today. The American colleagues somehow tried to put the problems on the borders of Russia with Ukraine at the forefront again, tried to condition everything else with the need for so-called de-escalation, this has already become a spell,” Lavrov said.
On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry revealed the draft documents on legal security guarantees from the US and NATO. Later, the documents were passed to the US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried. Russia-US consultations on these issues were held in Geneva on January 10. A Russia-NATO Council meeting was held in Brussels on January 12. On January 13, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, presented these proposals at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
And yesterday, on January 20, the Head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, Konstantin Gavrilov, at the meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation said that now the West faces the moment of truth, which has started the countdown in wait for the adoption of Russian proposals on security guarantees.
“There arrives a moment of truth when the West either accepts our proposals or other ways will be found to safeguard Russia’s security,” Gavrilov said. “I am convinced that with goodwill and a willingness to compromise in any situation, it is possible to find a way out to mutually acceptable solutions. We are running out of time. The countdown begins.”
Ryabkov disclosed that Washington promised to provide a response to Moscow’s proposals on guarantees of security next week. He noted that Moscow plans “a thorough, fundamental consideration of all aspects.”
“They [USA] said they would [provide answers] next week. We are planning a thorough, fundamental consideration of all aspects. The situation is complicated, deliberate pressure from the American side does not provide the necessary background. But nevertheless, we will reformat this American attitude, we will bring them to work on our agenda, on security guarantees,” Ryabkov said.