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American soldiers landing in Germany on February 4, 2022

Moscow’s package deal The Russian Foreign Ministry’s response to Washington’s security proposals, in a nutshell

Source: Meduza
American soldiers landing in Germany on February 4, 2022
American soldiers landing in Germany on February 4, 2022
Sgt. Stephen Perez / EPA / Scanpix / LETA

On Thursday, February 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a written response to Washington’s counter-proposals on security guarantees in Europe. Unlike the response Moscow received from the U.S. and NATO earlier this month, which wasn’t officially made public (though the full text was leaked to Spanish newspaper El Pais), the Russian Foreign Ministry published its 10-page commentary in full. Here’s what it says, in a nutshell. 

The United States didn’t give a constructive response to key issues, including halting NATO enlargement, guarantees that Ukraine won’t join the alliance, and rolling back the bloc’s infrastructure to its 1997 lines. The response ignored the fact that the Russian proposals are a package, deliberately choosing “convenient” topics and then “twisting” them to create advantages for the U.S. and its allies. 

There is no “Russian invasion” of Ukraine and this is not being planned — the U.S. is escalating the situation to devalue Russia’s security proposals. The Crimea is part of Russia — this matter is closed. The position repeated in the U.S. response that Russia allegedly “ignited the conflict in the Donbas” is untenable. The conflict’s causes are purely domestic and it can only be resolved through the Minsk agreements. There are no Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, and the deployment of Russian forces on our own territory does not and cannot affect U.S. interests. 

To de-escalate the situation around Ukraine, Kyiv must comply with the Minsk agreements, arms deliveries to Ukraine must stop, all Western advisers and instructors must be recalled, and NATO must refrain from conducting any joint exercises with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 

The U.S. reaffirmed its “strong support” for NATO’s open door policy, but this policy runs counter to commitments made within the OSCE not to enhance one’s security at the expense of other states.

We are glad that the United States has finally acknowledged the validity of some of the proposals we put forward in recent years, but we demand that this “package” be considered as a whole. We are prepared to discuss the issue of short- and medium-range missiles; ideas put forward by the U.S. on this matter can be developed further. The same is true of measures aimed at risk reduction in relation to flights of heavy bombers. However, we recall that our proposals concerning similar trips made by surface warships are also an important element of the “package.”  

The American approach to transparency surrounding military exercises is one sided and solely aimed at “shedding light” on the activities of Russian troops. We welcome Washington’s readiness to discuss the prevention of incidents on the high seas and in the airspace above them. However, this work cannot replace the settlement of the key issues Russia has outlined. 

You can read the full text of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s response in Russia here.

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