Russia has issued draft defense agreements to Ukraine and other former Soviet powers demanding their denial of NATO membership and the withdrawal of troops and weapons from Central and Eastern Europe.
Documents released on Friday called for a ban on sending US and Russian warships and aircraft to areas where they could strike each other, and on the suspension of NATO military exercises near Russia’s borders.
The proposals were submitted to the United States and its allies earlier this week and contain elements such as a useful Russian veto on future NATO membership for Ukraine – which the West has already rejected.
NATO Secretary-General on Friday stressed that any security talks with Moscow should take into account the coalition’s concerns and involve Ukraine and other partners.
The White House said it was similarly discussing proposals with US allies and partners, but noted that all nations have the right to determine their future without outside interference.
The draft agreements come amid tensions over the build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine, which has drawn fears of a Ukrainian and Western invasion. Moscow denies plans to attack its neighbors
Following the release of the draft documents, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybkov said Russia’s relations with the United States and NATO were nearing a “dangerous level”. He said coalition positions and exercises near Russia’s borders posed “unacceptable” threats to its security.
He told reporters that Moscow wanted the United States to immediately begin talks on the proposals in Geneva.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the federation had received Russian documents and that any talks with Moscow should “address NATO concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on key policies and European security documents, and be in consultation with NATO’s European partners such as Ukraine.”
He added that 30 NATO countries “are ready to work on strengthening confidence-building measures if Russia takes concrete steps to reduce tensions.”
Jack Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, said the United States was ready to discuss Moscow’s concerns about NATO with Russian officials.
But he stressed that Washington was committed to the principle of “nothing about you without you” in shaping policy that would affect European allies.
“We approach the broader question of diplomacy with Russia … meaningful progress at the negotiating table must, of course, take place in the context of expansion rather than expansion,” Sullivan said. Event hosted by the Council for Foreign Relations.
He added, “It will be very difficult to see the deals being executed if we continue to see an expansion cycle.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Kiev had “exclusive sovereignty” over its own foreign policy, and that only NATO could determine the relationship between them, including the issue of Ukrainian membership.
It called on Moscow to resume peace efforts in eastern Ukraine, where about 15,000 people have been killed in seven years of fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.
The draft Russian agreements on the Russia-US defense agreement and the Russia-NATO security agreement – Washington and its allies must take an obligation to extend NATO’s eastern expansion, including other former Soviet republics, to the 2008 promise of membership. Georgia.
They will also prevent the United States and its allies from setting up military bases in the territories of Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet countries that are not members of NATO.
Russia’s draft also anticipates a pledge not to deploy intermediate-range missiles in areas that could strike other parties’ borders, following the US and Russia’s withdrawal from the Cold War treaty banning such weapons.
Some Western political analysts have suggested that Russia make unrealistic demands, knowing that while maintaining military pressure on Ukraine, it will not be able to deliver a diplomatic distraction.
“There is something wrong with this film, Pol [political] The page looks like a smoke screen, ”wrote Michael Kaufman, a Russian expert at the Virginia – based CNA Research Institute, on Twitter.
Sam Green, a professor of Russian politics at King’s College London, said Putin was “drawing a line around the post-Soviet space and planting a ‘stay out’ sign.”
“It’s not a deal: it’s an announcement,” he said. “But this does not mean that it is a precursor to war.
President Vladimir Putin raised the issue of security guarantees in a video call with US President Joe Biden last week. During the talks, Biden expressed concern about the deployment of Russian troops near Ukraine and warned that Russia would face “severe consequences” if Moscow attacked its neighbor.
U.S. intelligence officials say Russia has moved 70,000 troops to its border with Ukraine and is preparing for a possible invasion early next year. Moscow has denied the motive for the attack and has accused Ukrainian authorities of plotting to retake control of rebel-held eastern Ukraine – Ukraine has denied the allegations.
Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine began after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. It killed more than 14,000 people and became the industrial hub of Ukraine called Donbass.