Rapid developments are coming – What is the landmark date?
In an interview, Vladimir Putin gave an ultimatum to the West and NATO if they continue to insist on expansion to the east.
Directly linking the possibility of a military invasion of Ukraine with NATO’s “unconditional compliance” with Russian demands, Vladimir Putin says he will “weigh” a number of options for the military staff if the West refuses to security guarantees that it has put to negotiation, with the central axis being the exclusion of Kiev’s future membership in the Alliance and its “retreat” from Central and Eastern Europe.
Stoltenberg will convene a NATO-Russia council
The crucial negotiation, which will also be the “hour of truth” in Moscow’s relations with the West, “opens” with the arrival of 2022, with the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, launching the convening of the NATO-Russia Council. on January 12, as confirmed by Alliance officials, according to cnn.gr
The Russian Foreign Ministry, for its part, states that it has received the relevant proposal, noting that the finalization of the order and the date is still being studied and pending. The group last met in July 2019 and since then all attempts to set a date for new talks have been fruitless.
At the same time, NATO-level consultations will include bilateral negotiations between the United States and Russia in the neutral territory of Geneva, as well as talks within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
While maintaining the threat of invasion of Ukraine, having amassed tens of thousands of troops at the border, Russia is negotiating a package of legally binding security guarantees that essentially calls on the Alliance to return to the 1997 border.
The list of proposals presented by the Kremlin includes demands that are already known to be non-negotiable for the West and will clearly be rejected by NATO partners, especially Poland and the Baltic states, which makes the forthcoming negotiations “impossible”.
In the eight-point draft for a treaty with the West, Russia calls for a legally binding guarantee that Ukraine will be excluded from future membership in the Alliance, as well as the withdrawal of NATO forces and weapons systems from countries that joined the Alliance after 1997. including Poland, the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and the Balkan states.
Vladimir Putin enters the negotiation with the warning that, if the Russian positions are not respected, there will be a “response with appropriate military-technical measures”.
“As far as security guarantees are concerned, our actions will not depend on negotiations, but on unconditional compliance with Russian demands. “We have made it clear that further NATO expansion to the East is unacceptable,” he said in a meeting with Russia’s military leadership last Thursday.
There is no room for withdrawal
Asked to clarify Moscow’s reaction, Putin said in a statement broadcast on Russian state television on Sunday that “it could be varied” , adding without further elaboration that it would depend on the proposals submitted to him. the military staff, as reported by the Associated Press.
He reiterated that Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO is a “red line” for Moscow and will not allow the West to cross it.
“There is no room for Russia to back down,” Putin said. “Things have gotten to the point where we just have to say ‘end’,” he said, adding that NATO could deploy missiles in Ukraine that would take just four or five minutes to reach Moscow.
The Russian president said he expected a “constructive” response from the West to Russia’s demands, which he said the Kremlin had made public in order to step up pressure on the United States and its allies to negotiate a security deal.
“We did not do it to see [s.s.] the proposals blocked, but to reach a result through diplomatic negotiations that will be sealed with legally binding documents,” Putin said, according to Russian state television.
At the same time, he expressed concern that the United States may try to “drag” the talks for a long time and use them as a pretext, in order to concentrate military force near Russia in the meantime.
Jens Stoltenberg has indicated that NATO will seek substantive talks with Moscow early next year, while making it clear that the Alliance has no intention of compromising with Moscow on the major issue of its possible future.
“Any dialogue with Russia must, of course, respect the basic principles on which European security is built,” Jens Stoltenberg said, noting that NATO would consult with Kiev on the forthcoming talks with Moscow.
In the same vein, the United States agrees to discuss Russia’s concerns, but notes that the Kremlin knows from the outset that some of its demands will not be accepted. At the same time, any live meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on the current situation in Ukraine has been ruled out – at least until recently.
The dialogue is about to open at a time when a Russian military force of more than 100,000 troops has “surrounded” Ukraine, with Russia officially denying plans to invade but maintaining the threat of military confrontation, to the point of warning that A possible further expansion of NATO to the east could lead to a situation similar to that of the 1962 missile crisis in Cuba that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
At a crucial teleconference conference on December 7, US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart of the “unprecedented” consequences of invading Ukraine, with Putin demanding binding security assurances from the West that NATO would not expand to the East.