Kremlin names ‘life-and-death’ issue for Russia
The expansion of NATO into former members of the USSR is a matter of “life and death” for Russia, the Kremlin has warned.
However, spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed hope that a recent hypersonic missile test would exercise minds when it comes to Moscow’s proposals for a new, more inclusive, European security architecture.
Speaking to national television on Sunday, Peskov reiterated Moscow’s stance on the eastwards expansion of NATO. The potential ascension of former Soviet republics into the alliance remains completely unacceptable for Russia, he explained.
“The expansion of NATO into countries such as Ukraine, probably other countries that used to be in the Soviet Union ... this is actually a matter of life and death for us,” Peskov stated.
Earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin floated the idea of a comprehensive security agreement between Russia and the West. The idea has already materialized into two draft documents, one for the US and another for the NATO bloc as a whole. Among other things, the proposed deal envisions an agreement to halt eastwards expansion of the North Atlantic bloc.
Russia insists such an agreement must come in a written, legally-binding form, pointing out that promises made by the West to not push NATO eastwards after the collapse of the Soviet Union were broken.
“Over the past two decades, even more, we’ve been consistently deceived, and as a result of this deception we came to a situation where our security is under threat,” Peskov stated.
Should the security guarantees idea be ignored by the West, Russia promised to come up with a “military and technical” response to NATO’s expansion. On Friday, Russia conducted a new successful test of sea-based Zircon missiles, firing a volley of the hypersonic projectiles. The launch was intended as a message to the West, Peskov confirmed, expressing hopes it made Russian calls for a comprehensive security deal more “convincing.”
“Hopefully, [diplomatic] notes become more convincing this way,” the official said.