Deputy Foreign Minister insists on possibility of de-escalation despite “fundamental differences”
The long-awaited NATO-Russia Council meeting, held in Brussels on Wednesday, revealed conflicting views in the approach to international security adopted by Moscow and the US-led military bloc.
The meeting marked the first session of the international forum since 2019 and it followed crucial direct talks between the United States and Russia earlier this week in Geneva.
After the Brussels consultations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko held a large press conference, giving Moscow’s point of view on what was discussed.
The NATO-Russia negotiations involved a “Frank, direct, deep and intense” conversation, said Grushko. At the same time, the meeting underlined the “Fundamental differences” between the US-led bloc and Moscow in their stance on key security issues, with “no unifying positive agenda” preview.
“NATO understands the principle of the indivisibility of security in a selective way. In NATO’s eyes, it only exists for alliance members. NATO will ignore the interests of others. We start from the principle that the indivisibility of security should be for everyone ”, said the diplomat, stressing that Moscow will not allow anyone to build “Security against Russia without Russia”.
Moscow awaits concrete proposals from NATO
Russia expects the US-led bloc to table counter-proposals in response to the security guarantees deal Moscow drafted in December. So far, the West has been rather vague in its response to the project, expressing its willingness to speak up while qualifying some of the proposals as unacceptable.
Although no coherent written response has been produced so far, the Brussels talks have yielded the “impression” that a document like this could emerge, Grushko said.
“The Russian proposals were presented in written form, they are perfectly understandable and interconnected. We also expect NATO countries to present their views on how to follow the path of implementing the proposals we have put forward. Or explain why they are unacceptable. said the diplomat.
NATO enlargement remains a key issue
The expansion of the military bloc, which Russia has repeatedly referred to as its main foreign policy concern, only displaces international tension instead of fixing it in any way, Grushko said.
“As for NATO enlargement in general – I won’t name the countries now – we have always said that NATO enlargement does not solve any security problem. NATO’s expansion does not erase dividing lines, but shifts them in the direction in which it extends ”, said the diplomat.
If the conflicting trend in NATO-Russia relations continues, Moscow will be forced to take reciprocal action, he warned. Therefore, if NATO, which considers Russia as its “Main opponent”, pursues the policy of “containing” the country, Moscow will be forced to engage “Meter container” the block, explained Grushko.
“The only threat to Ukraine is Ukraine itself”
Ukraine was one of the centerpieces of the Brussels negotiations, with discussions on the situation in the country occupying much of the meeting, Grushko revealed. The West’s approach somewhat contradicted the principle postulated by the US State Department of “not to take decisions on Ukraine without Ukraine”, noted the diplomat.
“Today our partners discussed Ukraine, well, probably for an hour and a half on [the] four awarded, “ he added.
The diplomat reiterated Moscow’s position that Russia poses no threat to Ukraine. In recent months, Russia has been repeatedly accused by the West of seeking to “to invade” the neighboring country, an accusation that Moscow has always denied.
Let me stress once again that the threat to Ukraine is Ukraine itself. Nobody else.
Luck for peace
The de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine, repeatedly pressed by the West, is in fact possible, Grushko said. Yet the process rested solely in the hands of the West itself, rather than Russia.
To achieve this, NATO and other Western countries must pressure Kyiv to abide by the Minsk Accords – a 2015 comprehensive agreement that provides a roadmap to end the conflict between Ukrainian authorities and the regions. separatists from Donetsk and Lugansk, explained the diplomat.
“First of all, it is necessary to put pressure on the Kiev authorities so that they fully and unconditionally implement the Minsk agreements,” he added. he said. “If the Minsk accords are implemented, there will be no threat to Ukraine’s security and its territorial integrity.
To facilitate de-escalation, the US-led bloc should also stop supplying Kiev with arms and “Remember your instructors, officers and soldiers” country, added Grushko.