‘The moment of truth has come’ for Russia & NATO – Moscow
Moscow’s new proposals for security guarantees are aimed at averting a potential military conflict with NATO, Russia’s deputy FM has said, noting that the country’s relations with the US-led bloc have reached a tipping point.
The comprehensive deal, proposed to the US and NATO this week, serves the best interests of all the parties involved, and is designed to avoid a potential military showdown through political dialogue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Saturday.
“[By proposing the deal] we make it clear that we are ready to talk about how to transform a military or a military-technical scenario into a political process that will strengthen the military security of all states within The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Euro-Atlantic area and Eurasia,” Grushko told the Soloviev LIVE YouTube channel.
Should the West ignore Moscow’s attempt to rein in the tensions, Russia will resort to “creating counter-threats” of its own, the minister said, referring to potential deployment of new weapons systems within Russia’s borders.
“It will [then] be too late then to ask us why we've made such decisions, why we've deployed such systems,” he said.
Arguing that increasingly strained Russia-NATO relations have reached “the moment of truth,” which calls for a “fundamental decision,” the minister stressed that the ball is now in NATO’s court.
"We have taken this step and proceed from the fact that it will no longer be possible to somehow brush it [the security proposals] off.”
The idea of a comprehensive, legally binding security agreement with the West was first floated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two separate draft documents, presented by Russia to Brussels and Washington on Wednesday, laid out the main principles of peaceful coexistence of Russia and the US-led military bloc in Europe, Moscow said.
Unveiling the proposals, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov explained that Russia insists on written guarantees since the ties with the West currently suffer from “an almost total lack of mutual trust.” Ryabkov pointed out that many verbal promises, given by Western politicians to Russia back in 1990, including NATO’s pledge to not expand eastwards, have been subsequently broken.
The proposal to NATO demands the bloc stop its expansion towards Russia’s borders and refrain from stationing forces in the former Warsaw Pact member-states. Under the proposed security deal, Moscow and NATO also pledge to not place intermediate and short-range missiles near each other’s territory. The proposal to the US mirrors that to NATO, while also calling on Washington to agree not to use the territory of other states for the purpose of preparing or launching a military attack on each other.