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26 Jan, 2022 19:48

US explains why it asked Russia not to make its security response public

Diplomacy thrives in darkness, Washington appears to suggest
US explains why it asked Russia not to make its security response public

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has revealed a list of diplomatic requests sent to his counterpart in Moscow in response to Russia’s security proposals, describing the paper as a “serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it” during a Wednesday press conference.

However, while he restated several of Washington’s talking points with regard to the confrontation over Ukraine, he declined to go into specifics, arguing that “diplomacy has the best chance to succeed when we provide space for confidential talks.”

The top US diplomat described the document as addressing “core principles” that Washington is determined to uphold, such as “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances.

Other issues covered included “reciprocal transparency measures regarding force posture on Ukraine,” “measures to increase confidence regarding military exercises and maneuvers in Europe” as well as “arms control related to missiles in Europe,” and “a follow-on agreement to the START Treaty that covers all nuclear weapons.” The US and Russia last year extended the New START Treaty by five years, meaning the last remaining arms reduction agreement between the two nations will expire in February 2026.

Blinken insisted the US was “open to dialogue” and would “prefer diplomacy” – but only “if Russia de-escalates its aggression toward Ukraine” and ceases what he called “inflammatory rhetoric.” He explained that NATO had developed and delivered its own paper while insisting the alliance’s document fully reinforced the US’ own and that there was “no daylight” between the country and the transcontinental alliance it controls.

Despite the diplomacy-centered rhetoric, however, the secretary of state boasted the US had provided more weapons to Ukraine in 2022 than in any previous year, as well as authorizing its NATO allies to transfer their own weaponry to the supposedly-imperiled Eastern European nation. The US and NATO have also moved or activated thousands of troops and other military resources in the area in the event of what they insist is a near-inevitable invasion by Russia.

Blinken met with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov last week to discuss the comprehensive list of security guarantees Moscow delivered last month, but the State Department took a confrontational pose on Monday, announcing that it would not make any “concessions” to Russia that did not benefit both nations. One particular sticking point has been Russia’s insistence that NATO cease expansion eastward, a guarantee Washington has thus far refused to consider.

The US Secretary of State added that he expects to speak with his Russian counterpart again “in the coming days.