Moscow responds to US security proposal 'cherry picking'
The US has “failed to provide a constructive answer” to all the key elements of Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official response to Washington on Thursday. The ten-page document was handed over in Moscow to American ambassador John Sullivan.
Washington has “cherry picked” some “convenient” topics out of a set of “indivisible” proposals and has further “twisted” them to create security advantages for the US and its allies, the ministry said, in an assessment of America’s security proposals. Such actions “raise doubts” as to the US’ willingness to improve European security, the Russian diplomats have added.
“Our ‘red lines’; our key security interests and Russia’s sovereign right to defend them are still being ignored,” the ministry said, adding that Moscow would have to respond with “military and technical measures.”
Russia also blasted ongoing Western media reports and officials’ statements about the supposedly planned invasion of Ukraine, saying the only purpose of such an information campaign is to “exert pressure” on Moscow and “discredit” Russia’s security proposals.
“No ‘Russian invasion’ into Ukraine the US and its allies have been talking about since autumn has taken place or is planned,” the ministry has said, adding that Moscow cannot be blamed for the rising tensions in Europe.
The Ukrainian conflict has been caused by solely internal reasons, Russia maintains, adding that Moscow has nothing to do with it. De-escalation of the situation around the embattled nation can only be achieved through Kiev fulfilling its part of the Minsk agreements and the US and NATO stopping arms supplies to Ukraine, ceasing joint drills with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and pulling out all Western instructors from its territory, the statement said.
The US ultimatums demanding Russia withdraw its troops from the “certain areas on its own territory” and threats of sanctions are “unacceptable” and only “undermine the prospects of reaching some real agreements,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“Russian Armed Forces deployed to Russia’s territory do not affect and cannot affect fundamental US interests,” the statement pointed out, adding that “there are no [Russian] forces on the territory of Ukraine.”
Moscow also accused the US of circumventing the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe regulating the limits on and deployment of conventional military equipment in Europe, as well as the 1997 Russia-NATO ‘Founding Act’ on mutual relations. Washington and its allies have expanded their military infrastructure further to the east by deploying troops to the territory of the bloc’s new members after 1997, the foreign ministry said, calling such a situation “unacceptable.”
Russia “insists on the withdrawal of the US troops and equipment deployed in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic States,” the statement said. Moscow has also demanded that the US withdraw its nuclear weapons deployed to the territory of its non-nuclear allies in Europe, as well as all the relevant rapid deployment infrastructure.
The very existence of nuclear weapons on their territory as well as NATO drills used to teach the troops of these nations to use nuclear arms violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Russia believes.
However, Moscow also sees some potential common ground for future negotiations with the US and NATO. Russia has particularly welcomed the US proposal on mutual verification and transparency measures, involving inspections of the US missile defense systems Aegis Ashore in Poland and Romania, as well as at relevant facilities in the European part of Russia’s territory.
Moscow also “sees a potential for future agreements” on mitigating the risks stemming from heavy-bomber sorties near the national borders of Russia, the US and its allies. The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed “the US readiness” to discuss similar measures to prevent open-sea and neutral airspace incidents. Still, “this work cannot be a substitute for resolution of the key issues raised by Russia,” the statement cautioned.