Russia warned the United States and NATO that “won’t wait until forever” a response to their demands to establish legally binding security guarantees to prevent further expansion of the Atlantic Alliance and the deployment of weapons near its borders.
“We are awaiting a written response from our colleagues. We think they understand the need to do it immediately, and to do it in writing. We won’t wait until forever”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his press conference at the beginning of the year.
The head of Russian diplomacy maintained that “there are plans to bog down” the process. “Whatever they say about the need to talk to their allies and the need to engage all members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), they are empty statements and attempts to delay a response.”.
“We are aware that the prospects of reaching a consensus depend on the United States”.
Lavrov argued that, when the Russia-NATO Council was created, political agreements on codes of conduct and behavior in the context of Armed Forces and weapons systems were negotiated “nobody talked about consultations with the OSCE or the European Union (EU)”.
“We want to see your response in writing, point by point, provision by provision. We want to be told this fits us, this doesn’t, if not why, if we can amend it, change the language, add something. All in writing please”, he indicated.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that he expects a “mature response” from the United States.
Lavrov did not want to go into elaborating Russia’s response in case he receives a negative answer, after several senior officials, including the Russian deputy minister and chief negotiator with the United States, Sergey Riabkov, warned of a military response by Moscow if The US and NATO do not react to the Russian demand.
“As President Putin has said, that will depend on what military experts recommend.”. “I will not try to read the tea grounds” about what the Russian response may be, he said.
“If our proposals are rejected, if that happens, we will assess the situation, we will inform the president. During his annual press conference (in December) he said that in such a case all factors would be taken into account, including our security interests. There is no way to predict the future, something our Western colleagues try to do. I think it’s counterproductive“, He said.
Asked if Russia will strengthen its military presence outside its borders if its demands for security guarantees are not met, Lavrov replied that Russia has “extensive military ties with our partners and allies and we have a presence in various regions of the world.”
“This is a matter of bilateral relationsLavrov said. Riabkov did not rule out in an interview with the Russian television channel RTVI published yesterday the deployment of military infrastructure in Cuba and Venezuela. “I don’t want to confirm anything or rule anything out.”, stated the “number two” of Russian diplomacy.
Lavrov also accused NATO of “attempts to spread artificially” by trying to attract not only Ukraine, but also Scandinavian countries that are not members of the Atlantic Alliance.
He also argued that Moscow expects an increase in NATO’s presence near Russia “in the coming months” using the pretext of the tensions around Ukraine as a pretext.
The United States and Ukraine accuse Russia of having accumulated nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border and of planning an attack this winter, for which “unprecedented” sanctions are already being prepared in case Putin decides to give the order.
“One can expect anything from them. But I can assure you: we are ready for any development of events in the economic sphere.Lavrov emphasized.
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