Relations between Russia and NATO are “at a critically low level,” as stated by the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin after the two parties hold a meeting in Brussels.
“Russian-NATO relations are at a critically low level. This is happening against the backdrop of global instability, the terrorist threat, the deployment of another arms race, as well as the complete degradation of the security architecture in Europe,” Fomin said at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels.
Fomin stressed that Russia is counting on a constructive discussion of the proposed guarantees. Fomin stressed that NATO’s refusal to support Russian de-escalation initiatives could lead to incidents and conflicts.
“The Russian side has repeatedly proposed to the alliance to take measures to de-escalate the situation. On the part of the alliance, Russian initiatives were ignored. This creates prerequisites for incidents and conflicts, undermines the foundations of security,” he said.
Fomin’s remarks follow a summit between NATO representatives and Russian diplomats. The Deputy Minister also named three key problems on which it is necessary to concentrate all efforts at the moment:
- Guarantees of non-expansion of NATO to the East at the expense of Ukraine and other countries;
- Commitments not to deploy new American medium- and shorter-range missiles in Europe;
- Limiting military activity in Europe, excluding the buildup of so-called “forward-based contingents”.
In turn, the military bloc’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters that the two sides had a “frank and open discussion on a wide range of issues, of course focusing on tensions in and around Ukraine” and disclosed that NATO is prepared to schedule “a series of meetings on various topics, including restrictions on missile weapons in Europe” with Moscow, RBC reports. He also said that NATO is interested “in finding opportunities to develop civil and military channels of communication, as well as the possibility of re-establishing the work of our missions in Moscow and Brussels.”
The veteran official made it clear, however, that the organization would not compromise on what it considers to be its fundamental principles in order to appease Russia. Stoltenberg insisted that “only Ukraine and 30 allies can decide when Ukraine becomes a member.”
Prior to that, separate talks between Russia and the US took place in Geneva on January 10. The Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, the American representative was US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. The meeting was dedicated to the discussion of security guarantees the draft agreements on which Moscow sent in December 2021 to Washington and NATO.
Earlier, in October, Russia announced it would suspend all direct bilateral ties with the bloc and shutter its offices in the capital city, RT reminded. The move came as a response to NATO’s expulsion of eight Russian diplomats from its Brussels headquarters.