“If NATO, as before, avoids talks on this subject, on the arrangements and ideas put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin, we will take action so that our security, sovereignty and territorial integrity are not dependent on anyone,” Lavrov said. The head of Russia’s diplomacy spoke to journalists behind the scenes of the OSCE debates in Stockholm, his words were communicated by the Russian TASS agency, reports PAP.
The minister said that Western countries “have been refusing to consider extremely specific proposals for more than two years” from the Russian general staff. According to Lavrov, Russia proposed, inter alia, determining how far from the borders military exercises may take place and how far warships and planes of both sides may be approaching.
The head of Russia’s foreign ministry also warned that Moscow would react if the US introduced further sanctions against his country because of Ukraine. He assured that the restrictions he described as “unlawful and unilateral” were “a road to nowhere”.
It should be noted here that the Russians have been demanding for a long time not to expand NATO to the east, but also to limit the deployment of certain weapons systems on the eastern flank (including defensive systems, such as the Aegis Ashore system in Poland and Romania). Russia’s demands for a “security guarantee” are therefore nothing new and are part of a series of actions Moscow is taking on the international arena.
Currently, the Russians are also engaging in this rhetoric also because failure to meet these demands could be presented as an excuse for their own actions on the international arena, such as increasing military involvement in Belarus or an attack on Ukraine. It is worth recalling here that there have recently been reports that Russian nuclear weapons may be deployed in Belarus. Such a move could be presented as a “defense” in the face of the West’s lack of reaction to Russian demands.
The fact that their demands have no real justification in international law has been ignored by the Russians for a long time. It is worth mentioning, for example, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which imposed certain obligations on the Russian side, which it had broken by annexing Crimea. Not to mention the Budapest Memorandum, which guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine for agreeing to withdraw nuclear weapons.