Moscow Will Take Measures to Eliminate Threats If Washington Ignores Security Proposals
Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees are aimed at creating and legalizing a new system of agreements in the field of security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sputnik.
Moscow will take measures to ensure strategic balance and eliminate threats if the United States and NATO do not respond to the proposals on security guarantees in an adequate time frame, Lavrov stressed.
"If a constructive response does not follow within a reasonable time and the West continues its aggressive line, then Russia will be forced to take all necessary measures to ensure a strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our security," he added.
The Russian diplomat also mentioned that Moscow's proposals on security guarantees envision the non-expansion of NATO to the east and deployment of strike weapons near Russia's borders, but they all contain other elements that in the end should "form those very reliable, legally binding security guarantees."
"Participation of high-ranking military personnel of the United States and the countries of the [NATO] alliance is fundamentally important for us," Lavrov said, adding that Russia will not allow the US and NATO to delay the process with "endless discussions."
Lavrov made the comments after a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, where the two focused on the security guarantee talks set for early January 2022 amid simmering tensions over Ukraine.
The security guarantees talks will be held in three formats: between Russia and the US in Geneva on 10 January, followed by a Russia-NATO Council meeting on 12 January, and Russia-OSCE consultations on 13 January.
During Thursday's phone call, the US president emphasized the special responsibility that Russia and the United States share for ensuring stability in the world, and informed President Putin that Washington will hold consultations with its allies on the security guarantee talks.
Moscow, meanwhile, once again pointed out its need to legally binding agreements on the security guarantees. Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov stressed that it is important that the upcoming bilateral talks on the matter do not turn into meaningless chatter.
In mid-December, the Russian Foreign Ministry laid out two comprehensive draft agreements on security guarantees between Russia, the United States, and NATO.
"The Parties shall settle all international disputes in their mutual relations by peaceful means and refrain from the use or threat of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations," one of the proposals reads.
Under the draft proposals, Russia and NATO will "exercise restraint in military planning and conducting exercises to reduce the risks of eventual dangerous situations in accordance with their obligations under international law, including those set out in intergovernmental agreements on the prevention of incidents at sea outside territorial waters and in the airspace above, as well as in intergovernmental agreements on the prevention of dangerous military activities."
The proposals also stipulate the creation of "hotlines" for emergency contacts between the parties.
In the drafts, Russia also suggests that the US commit to not setting up military bases in ex-Soviet republics that are not NATO members and refrain from further expansion of the alliance to the east.
"The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties," the document says.