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U.S. should give legal guarantees to stop eastward expansion of NATO, says Russia

Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Embassy in New Delhi. Photo: YouTube/Russian Embassy, India

Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Embassy in New Delhi. Photo: YouTube/Russian Embassy, India

The United States should give legally binding guarantees to Russia to stop eastward expansion of NATO, said a senior Russian official in New Delhi on Wednesday. Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Embassy described NATO as the “mechanism of confrontation” and emphasised that Russia is not planning to invade Ukraine.

“First of all, we expect a written response by the U.S. to the Russian proposals regarding security guarantees and official commitments for non-expansion of NATO eastwards coming back to the implementation of multilateral decisions of 1997 and 1999 in this regard as well as in regard of the principle of undivided security,” said Mr. Babushkin in a statement to The Hindu stressing that “any security arrangementshould take into account security interests of other states.”

Informed and reliable sources had told The Hindu earlier that Ukraine was adopting a flexible position to help arrive at a “middle level solution” with Russia, suggesting that there was a scope of negotiation about the eastward expansion of NATO.

In a press conference in Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday reflected thecurrent Ukrainian position and said, “The number of Russian troops amassed along the border of Ukraine and the Occupied Territories of Ukraine is large. It poses a direct threat to Ukraine. However, at the moment, this number is insufficient for a full scale offensive against Ukraine along the entire Ukrainian border. Moreover they still lack some important military indicators and systems to conduct such a large full scale offensive.”

The Russian official however said that there is an “extraordinary disinformation campaign” going on to project a threat of imminent invasion of Ukraine. He described the campaign as “mysterious” and said it is aimed at using sanctions against Russia. He said economic sanctions are counterproductive and are against the “culture of diplomatic communication”, hinting that western obstructions on Russia-aligned media outlets amount to curbing freedom of expression. The Biden administration in coordination with the US Congress has been considering a set of crippling sanctions against Russia in case of “further” Russian military action against Ukraine. These sanctions are aimed at hurting Russia at several fronts including its financial institutions, and the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. US government considers the pipeline as a Russian geopolitical tool to increase Moscow’s influence over Europe.

Mr Babushkin blamed NATO’s increased presence in the region for prompting Russian military build up, saying “Russia has absolutely no reason and, consequently no plans to invade Ukraine. Our troops at the border are deployed on our own territory and only for defence purposes due to escalated NATO military activities in Ukraine.” The Russian envoy described NATO as the “mechanism of confrontation” that is suffering from an identity crisis since the end of the Cold War.

“It is not true that NATO is ensuring the European security — it is impossible without Russia and mutually respectful dialogue based on the principle of undivided security meaning that no one should build up security arrangements at the expenseof securityinterests of other states.”

He said Russia is ready fora dialogue to deescalate the situation but described the “legally binding guarantees and non-expansion of NATO” as part of the “Russian red line” in the negotiation, adding “Russia wants normal, just, predictable and equal relations based on universal principles of the UN Charter and respect of each other’s interests and concerns.”


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 9:23:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-should-give-legal-guarantees-to-stop-eastward-expansion-of-nato-says-russia/article38330080.ece