Ukraine replies to Russian demands
Russia’s demands for security guarantees are not a starting point for discussion and negotiation, but are instead plunging the European continent into a “deep security crisis,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Thursday.
Speaking virtually to the French Institute of International Relations, Kuleba called on Kiev’s Western allies to be united against Moscow.
Last year, Russia sent the US and NATO a list of demands in the form of two draft treaties, seeking legally binding guarantees from Washington and Brussels over the future of European security. These include an end to NATO’s eastwards expansion, the withdrawal of troops, and an end to the deployment of strike missiles near Russia’s borders.
“The ultimatums issued by the Kremlin, now in the form of documents, simply do not comprise acceptable solutions,” Kuleba said. “Requirements to take or not take some countries into NATO, to withdraw troops from the Alliance’s territory, are unacceptable. This is not a starter for a discussion. It is a loaded revolver put on the table.”
According to Kuleba, Russia’s leadership has “decided to turn back time” to the “darkness of confrontation,” calling Moscow’s concerns about NATO a “mythical threat.”
“I am sorry that, for the second time in less than a hundred years, Europe is overshadowed by an aggressive authoritarian state that seeks a way to take revenge and redesign the security architecture on the continent, and in doing so uses threats and weapons,” he said.
Kuleba’s speech comes as Western nations have expressed fears that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine. This claim has been repeatedly denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Also on Thursday, officials from Russia and Ukraine met in Berlin, alongside representatives of France and Germany, to discuss the future of eastern Ukraine and the war in Donbass. According to Dmitry Kozak, who led Moscow’s team, almost nine hours of negotiations ended in an impasse.