The expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance to the east is contrary to the general and collectively agreed principle of indivisible security in Europe, said Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov. At the same time, the NATO leadership claims that the expansion of the bloc “is extremely important for stability, peace, freedom and democracy in Europe.” Next week, a series of security talks will take place between Moscow, Washington, representatives of the alliance and the OSCE. According to experts, the collective West is determined to preserve the dialogue, but one should not expect a radical change in its strategy towards the Russian Federation.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov called the North Atlantic Alliance a vestige of the Cold War. He expressed this point of view in a commentary to Newsweek magazine, answering the question whether Moscow has fears that the unrest in Kazakhstan could distract from the security situation amid a possible NATO expansion into Ukraine.
“NATO’s eastward expansion runs counter to the general and collectively agreed principle of indivisible security in Europe. The transatlantic bloc itself is a vestige of the Cold War, ”the diplomat emphasized.
Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, on the other hand, claims that the bloc’s expansion is “extremely important for stability, peace, freedom and democracy in Europe.” He stated this during a press conference following the summit of foreign ministers of NATO member states.
Speaking about the relationship of the alliance with Russia, Stoltenberg said about the need to “conduct a good faith dialogue” and make efforts to secure “the political path forward.” At the same time, he made it clear that there is no talk of a refusal by the North Atlantic Alliance to expand.
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“All our allies make it clear that we will not compromise in violation of basic principles, which include the right of each country to choose its own path and which security mechanisms it wants to be a part of,” Stoltenberg said.
According to him, these principles are enshrined in the documents “which Russia has also signed,” starting with the 1975 Helsinki Final Act.
“In addition, it is, of course, spelled out in the NATO founding treaty. Therefore, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization cannot compromise on the right of each country to independently choose its own path, ”added Stoltenberg.
Negotiations between NATO and Russia are to take place on January 12, after the Russian-American consultations on security guarantees are held in Geneva. In anticipation of this meeting, NBC News published an article in which, with reference to the current representative of the American administration and two former employees of the US national security agencies, it is said about the White House’s readiness to conduct a dialogue “on reducing the deployment of American and Russian troops and military exercises in Eastern Europe” Moscow will take the negotiations seriously.
“According to sources, the discussion may touch on the scale of military exercises conducted by both powers, the number of American troops deployed in the Baltic countries and Poland, prior notification of force movements, as well as Russian Iskander missile systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads and deployed on the territory Kaliningrad region ”, – stated in the article.
However, the State Department denied this information.
It is not accurate that the administration is developing options for pulling back U.S. forces in Eastern Europe in preparation for discussions with Russia next week, which we told NBC while they were reporting this story.— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) January 7, 2022
“It is not true that in preparation for talks with Russia next week, the administration is developing options for the withdrawal of US troops deployed in Eastern Europe. We told NBC about it when they covered the story, ”agency spokesman Ned Price tweeted.
The eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance has become the main reason for the rapid growth of mutual mistrust in Europe. This opinion was written by Vladimir Putin in his June article “Being open despite the past”. He stressed that the alliance’s policy has presented many countries with an artificial choice: to be either with the collective West or with Russia.
“In fact, it was an ultimatum. The consequences of such an aggressive policy can be seen in the example of the Ukrainian tragedy of 2014 … Now the entire system of European security has greatly degraded. Tensions are growing, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing the huge opportunities that cooperation gives us, ”the President noted.
Recall that at the time of the collapse of the USSR, NATO included 16 states (moreover, France only in 2009 returned to the military structures of the bloc, before that it had been a member of only a political organization for many years). In the early 1990s, the alliance began to show great interest in the former Warsaw Pact countries and the former Soviet republics. At the 1997 summit in Madrid, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were invited to NATO, and then other states of the former socialist bloc. In total, since the end of 1999, the alliance has replenished with 14 new members, including the Baltic states and the Balkan states.
In 2008, at a summit in Bucharest, NATO leaders announced that “in time” Ukraine and Georgia would be able to join the alliance.
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The events of 2014 in Ukraine became the reason for the further increase in the activity of NATO and the United States near the Russian borders. Western politicians started talking about “Russian aggression” in the region, which became a pretext for deploying additional NATO infrastructure in Europe, as well as intensifying military exercises near Russian borders.
As Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2021, the United States and NATO are purposefully increasing the scale and intensity of troop training activities near Russia. “Increasingly, strategic aviation is involved in them, carrying out simulated launches of nuclear missiles at our facilities. The number of their flights near the Russian borders has more than doubled, “the minister said, speaking at an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry collegium with the participation of Vladimir Putin.
As Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Research, explained in an interview with RT, the main goal of this policy of the collective West is “to humiliate and contain Russia.”
“NATO and the US are not going to fight with Russia and are cautious about situations when Ukraine is seriously trying to provoke the Russian Federation. They have a different task – to force Moscow to simply show weakness, to demonstrate that it is not capable of competing, ”the expert said.
At the same time, as analysts emphasize, both Washington and the bloc as a whole are well aware that the buildup of military activity near the Russian borders looks like a direct threat to the Russian Federation. This activity, coupled with talks about the possible inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, is used as a trump card in the dialogue with Moscow, says Dmitry Evstafiev, professor at the Higher School of Economics.
“Recently, talks about further NATO enlargement have been actively used to increase the sense of threat both among the Russian elite and among society as a whole. This is an absolutely deliberate tactic. For a political refusal to expand NATO to the east, Moscow will be forced to make very serious concessions in other areas, while now there are no organizational and political opportunities for expanding the alliance, ”the expert noted.
“It will take a lot of effort”
In December 2021, Moscow handed over to Washington draft bilateral agreements on security guarantees and agreements on security measures for Russia and the countries – members of the North Atlantic Alliance.
The draft of the first document, inter alia, assumes that both sides will undertake not to use the territory of other states “for the purpose of preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other side” of the treaty, and the United States will undertake to exclude further expansion of NATO to the east and refuse to include into the alliance of former Soviet republics.
“The United States of America will not establish military bases on the territory of states that were previously part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activity, or develop bilateral military cooperation with them,” draft contract.
However, according to Dmitry Evstafiev, Washington is unlikely to adjust NATO’s military activity near the Russian borders. “For the American side, this is a long-term strategy. And to correct it, even if such a desire would arise, it would take a lot of time, ”the expert explained.
Vladimir Bruter also believes that although Washington is ready to bargain with Moscow, perhaps even make a number of concessions, there will be no talk of a fundamental change in policy.
“For example, the United States may well reduce the contingent stationed in Eastern Europe, reduce the frequency of training exercises in the region under certain conditions, but this will not change the general course. The United States and NATO are ready to vary the speed and pace of pressure on Russia, since they want to maintain the possibility of dialogue with it, ”the expert says.
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At the same time, in his opinion, NATO is unlikely to rush to admit Ukraine and Georgia into its ranks, since this, to a certain extent, contradicts the interests of the alliance.
“The inclusion of these countries in NATO means new commitments for the collective West. At the same time, both the alliance and the United States may well now use the territory of these countries for their own purposes. Therefore, for Russia, the fundamental point is not so much the actual acceptance of Ukraine into the bloc as its neutral status, “Bruter said.
In his opinion, in the upcoming negotiations NATO and Washington will demand from Moscow asymmetrical steps, for example, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the western border of the country.
“At the same time, Russia acts only on its own territory, and the United States – on someone else’s. I do not exclude that they will demand that Russia limit its own defense potential. Therefore, the parties will need serious efforts to at least move on to discussing constructive conditions, ”the analyst suggested.
Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.
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