Lavrov says Moscow will “eliminate unacceptable threats” if Washington and NATO fail to meet its security demands.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Russia will move to “remove unacceptable threats” if the United States and NATO do not respond to the Kremlin’s security demands, following high-level talks between the two rival powers.
Lavrov told Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Friday that the Foreign Ministry would not allow the proposals to be presented in “endless discussions” as tensions raged between Moscow and Western powers over Ukraine, as fears of a possible Russian invasion escalated. In recent months, Moscow’s deployment of tens of thousands of troops has increased along the common border of the two countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden spoke by phone for about an hour on Thursday, their second conversation this month, before face-to-face negotiations at a lower level in Geneva in January between top officials.
Among the list of requests from Russia, many of which are seen as no novices in the West, is a demand that the US-led transatlantic security alliance pledge to abandon any military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
The Kremlin says NATO’s eastward expansion and Kiev’s growing ties with the organization have undermined security in the region, and Moscow claims that such developments threaten Russia, contradicting assurances it was given with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and compared to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when World War II occurred. . The world is on the brink of nuclear war.
Lavrov said Moscow would take “all necessary measures to ensure a strategic balance” if its concerns were ignored.
During Thursday’s discussions, requested by Russia, Biden and Putin exchanged warnings about Ukraine but shared hope that the January talks might ease tensions.
Biden said he needed to see Russia reduce its military build-up near Ukraine, while Putin warned the West against imposing heavy sanctions, saying such a move could sever ties.
Russia denies it plans to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move troops on its soil.
“President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can only occur in an environment of de-escalation rather than escalation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin aide, said the call created a “good background” for future talks.
January security meeting
Despite talk of diplomacy, neither country has detailed much progress toward a solution or outlines any new security deal.
“The two leaders acknowledged that there are likely to be areas where we can make meaningful progress as well as areas where agreements may be impossible and that upcoming talks will more precisely define each of these categories,” said an unnamed senior White House official. An official told Reuters news agency.
According to the Kremlin, Biden appeared to agree that Moscow needed some security guarantees, and said he had no intention of deploying offensive weapons in Ukraine.
The White House did not immediately comment on the Kremlin’s characterization of Biden’s comments.
The United States led the charge in raising concern about Russian troop movements near Ukraine, following Moscow’s previous deployment of troops earlier this year.
Washington and its Western allies say Moscow mustered up to 100,000 troops ahead of a possible winter incursion into its neighbor, seven years after it seized Crimea in 2014.
Soon after the annexation, Russia supported a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine’s industrial region, known as Donbass, has killed more than 14,000 people so far, according to KEV.
Following talks between top officials in Switzerland next month, the Russia-NATO Council will meet on January 12 in Brussels. A day later, negotiations are expected to take place at the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe in Vienna.