Russia’s Foreign Ministry has published draft proposals outlining the kind of security guarantees it would like to see from the West, including a stop on any further NATO expansion and restrictions on the deployment of troops and weaponry in Eastern Europe.
The measures also call on both parties not to deploy land-based intermediate and short-range missiles on territory which would allow them to reach each other’s borders and to refrain from military activities in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
Russia’s Deputy Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a news conference that Moscow did not intend to draw up security guarantees on behalf of NATO but that these could form a basis for negotiation which Russia is prepared to begin immediately.
“The situation brooks no delay,” he said, adding that he did not believe the measures would be unacceptable to the West but that so far they have shown no readiness to start talking.
The White House says the US has received the proposals and is in discussion with its European allies and partners on how to proceed.
“There will be no talks on European security without our European allies and partners,” the White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that any dialogue with Moscow would need to address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions and would only take place “in consultation with NATO’s European partners, such as Ukraine”.
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He said that NATO member states were prepared to work on strengthening confidence-building measures if Russia took steps to reduce tensions.
Russia’s build-up of troops and weaponry along its border with Ukraine has sent alarm bells ringing in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and across the West.
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US intelligence estimates that Russia could be ready for a full scale invasion with as many as 175,000 troops by early 2022.
Russia denies it has any intention of invading Ukraine but in a video call last week, President Vladimir Putin brought up the issue of security guarantees and a revised international security architecture with his US counterpart.
President Joe Biden warned him of drastic economic consequences in the case of a Russian invasion.
The US has also repeatedly made clear that Russia has no say in NATO’s composition or the promise of future NATO admission made to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008.