Moscow demands answers from NATO
Russia still expects the US and its NATO allies to provide Moscow with a substantive and concrete response to its demand for security guarantees, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.
According to the Kremlin, Putin stressed the necessity for US-led military bloc NATO to give serious consideration to Moscow’s demands.
“Putin once again emphasized the need for the US and NATO to take Russia’s demands to ensure its security guarantees as seriously as possible and to respond specifically and to the point,” the Kremlin statement said.
In December last year, Moscow appealed to Washington with a list of proposals on how to deescalate the situation in Europe. First and foremost, the Kremlin demanded that NATO respect its commitment not to expand “one inch eastward,” which was given to Moscow at the end of the Cold War. In particular, Russia categorically opposes the accession of its immediate neighbors, Ukraine and Georgia, to the bloc. NATO, however, has thus far refused to amend its ‘open door policy’.
Washington has also rejected some of Moscow’s other proposals, such as the demand that the US-led bloc stop placing military hardware near the Russian border.
After the phone call, the Élysée Palace revealed that both Putin and his US counterpart, Joe Biden had accepted a proposal by Macron to conduct a Russian-American summit. Washington specified that the meeting would be possible solely on the condition that Moscow does not invade Ukraine. Russian and American officials are due to meet on February 24 to prepare the substance of the summit.
Earlier this month, Putin and Macron met in Moscow to discuss the rising tensions at the Ukrainian border, where Russia is accused of amassing over 100,000 of its troops, with some believing that it is planning to launch an invasion. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegation.