According to leaked communications, Washington and NATO have publicly rejected Russia’s fundamental demand for guarantees the US-led military alliance will not grow closer to its borders.
Russia: “We don't want a war”
Ukraine: “An invasion is not imminent”
NATO: There is “no certainty” that Russia plans to invade
The US: pic.twitter.com/mGkRAU74qS
— Rachel Blevins (@RachBlevins) January 28, 2022
Moscow’s demands for a formal assurance that Ukraine will not be accepted into NATO were rejected during multiple rounds of negotiations between Russian and Western negotiators.
Officials, however, stated in their response that they remain receptive to talks and have suggested several areas of potential cooperation.
The detailed response to Moscow’s December suggestions is essentially consistent with what Western officials have publicly stated throughout Europe’s heated impasse.
NATO accused Russia of conducting a “significant, unprovoked, unjustified, and continuing” military presence mostly around Ukraine and Belarus.
The group reaffirmed its support for “other nations’ ability to choose or modify security arrangements,” reprimanding Russia’s insistence the union does not admit Ukraine or any new countries.
The US-led bloc denied posing a threat to Russia, claiming to have “stretched the hand of friendship” by offering Moscow dialogue, following the conclusion of the Cold War in the early 1990s.
No other nation has been provided a relationship or institutional structure equivalent to this one. Nonetheless, Russia undermined the confidence that underpins international collaboration.
“Russia’s military presence all across Ukraine must be reversed if genuine progress is to be made,” NATO wrote.
For its part, the union proposed broad openness and confidence-building measures, including sharing briefings on military exercises and talks, creating a civilian helpline, and reasserting respective posts in Moscow and Brussels.
Conversely, the US rejected the proposal that NATO does not extend farther into Russia’s frontiers. The written answer stated, “the US remains a staunch supporter of NATO’s Open Door Policy.”
Washington said it was willing to consider “reciprocal agreements by both the US and Russia to abstain from placing offensive floor ballistic missiles and substantial military forces on Ukrainian soil.”
The report claimed their existing deployment was “restricted, proportionate, and fully compliant with responsibilities under the NATO-Russia Foundational Act.”
It also added that allies would “enhance our defensive position” if Russia attacked Ukraine or increased its own “force stance.”
Putin warns US seeks to “drag” Russia “into an armed conflict”
“The statements by Putin underscore the immense dangers of the situation that has been created by the aggressive moves of NATO and above all, US imperialism.” https://t.co/RbsiZstXMT
— Solidarity (@jrabbitt77) February 2, 2022
In a reaction similar to NATO’s, the US stated conversational progress can only occur “in an atmosphere of de-escalation concerning Russia’s threatening activities against Ukraine.”
When questioned about the leak, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, stating Moscow had nothing to do with the release of the replies.
Reporters requested validation of the report and its contents from NATO and the US State Department, but have not yet gotten a reply.
Russia has repeatedly denied any intention of attacking Ukraine and stated it considers Western military capabilities along its borders a threat.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated Washington’s written reply to Moscow demonstrated its disrespect for Russia’s “fundamental” security concerns.