Moscow – The tone of Russian officials’ statements reflected their early skepticism about an acceptable response from the United States and NATO regarding security guarantees, as if such a response was expected.
On the evening of January 26, the United States and NATO submitted to Russia written responses to its demands for security guarantees in Europe. The document prepared in Washington was brought to the Russian Foreign Ministry by US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan.
In a phone call afterward, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Moscow’s basic concerns, such as preventing NATO expansion and refusing to deploy missile systems near Russia’s borders, were not taken into account, and Moscow received no satisfactory response to the proposal to return NATO to Europe. to sites in 1997.
Although it was agreed that the contents of the document would remain confidential, it was disclosed that what it included was a reference to “Russian fears” and “the possibility of agreeing on things that could increase the level of security for everyone, including Russia.”
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his belief that the US response to Russia’s proposals will become known to the public. According to him, despite the desire of the American side to keep the document confined to a secret diplomatic dialogue, as Washington agreed on with all its allies and with the Ukrainian side, he has no doubt that in the very near future it will be “leaked.”
According to him, the American response allows relying on the beginning of serious talks, but on minor issues, acknowledging the lack of a positive reaction to the main issue in this document, which is the non-expansion of NATO to the east, and refraining from deploying missile systems in areas that could pose a threat to Russia. .
He added that the responses from the United States and NATO will be considered as a whole and, after inter-ministerial coordination, will be reported to President Putin, who will decide the next steps.
This development comes in light of the most complex crisis between the two sides since the end of the Cold War, marked this time by dangerous developments in the Ukrainian file, the direct entry of the West into the line of political and military support for the former Soviet Republic, and unprecedented Russian buildup on the borders with it.
“War doves” and low concessions
Political analyst Alexander Baunov believes that Russia does not negotiate as a country that will wage war, but as a country that in this case can afford it. Having sent to Moscow a written reply, upon request, including a rejection of the main points, it gave hope in return for the minor points.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, he believes that the matter now depends on Russia in evaluating those simple, low, but meaningful concessions, or its rejection and readiness for war on Ukraine.
Something is better than nothing
While the Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrei Kortunov believes that there are two completely different scenarios for the development of events. Moscow can say that since its demands are not met, there is nothing to talk about, because without solving the main problems the Russian security situation cannot be improved, and therefore military and technical measures will be dealt with in response to the threats that Russia sees in the actions of NATO.
As for the second option, Kortunov continues, in a statement to the “Fontanka Row” website, it is to deal with the principle that something is better than nothing, by negotiating files in which mutual understanding appears, including a moratorium on the deployment of medium and short-range missiles, and the security of Russia and NATO, and de-escalation measures, and negotiations on arms control.
The ball is in Putin’s court
As for international affairs analyst Vladislav Izev, he believes that what the representatives of NATO and the White House expressed in their briefing shows that the West is not ready to meet any of the demands of the Russian side.
And he asserts, speaking to Al Jazeera Net, that “there are no guarantees that NATO will not expand to the Russian borders, nor that new offensive weapons will not be installed near the borders,” expressing his belief that the Kremlin did not expect otherwise.
And Izev continues, that so far, there is no clear understanding of the measures by which Moscow will respond to this refusal. The only thing Russia’s requirements were met was to receive written answers, which means that this round apparently “finished exactly what the Russian side was expecting, so the ball is now in President Vladimir Putin’s court.”