Moscow: If US, NATO Reject Security Proposals, Russia Will Be Forced to Create Counterthreats
18:26 GMT 18.12.2021 (Updated: 19:50 GMT 18.12.2021)
Moscow handed US diplomats a pair of detailed security proposals for security between Russia, the US and NATO on 15 December, with the details of the proposed agreements published on the Foreign Ministry's website on Friday. US and NATO officials have confirmed that they are studying the documents.
Russia will be forced to take measures to create a system of counterthreats if the US and NATO reject Moscow's security proposals, deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko has warned.
"We have made clear that we are prepared to discuss ways to shift a military scenario or a military-technical scenario into a political process that will actually strengthen the military security of all states within the OSCE, the Euroatlantic and Eurasian space. And if this doesn't work out, we have already made clear to [NATO] that we will switch to the mode of creating counter-threats. But then it will be too late to ask why we have made such decisions, why we have deployed such systems," the diplomat said, speaking to Russian media on Saturday.
Grushko stressed that Russia's proposals are aimed at stepping back from the current dangerous precipice in relations between Russia and the US, and to move toward dialogue.
"A moment of truth is upon us. Indeed, we have reached a dangerous line. And our proposals are aimed precisely at moving away from this dangerous line and toward some kind of normal dialogue, at the forefront of which will be security interests," he said.
The diplomat stressed that Russia has come to a point in relations with NATO where it is no longer possible to just "brush aside" or "talk around" Russian security concerns.
Russia, Grushko added, will work consistently to achieve from NATO a vision of European security as Moscow sees it, and as has been outlined in the Foreign Ministry's proposals
. "We will strive very consistently and fundamentally to implement a vision of how to build European security exactly as we have formulated it," he said.
The deputy foreign minister warned that NATO's current motto - practically the only thing tying it together, is the idea of the Russian "threat from the east." This is dangerous, he said.
The West, according to Grushko, now has two paths: "first, to take seriously what we have put on the table, or face a military-technical alternative."
Russia's Twin Proposals
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry published on its website two draft agreements on security guarantees between the Russian Federation, the United States and NATO which had been handed to US officials in a meeting in Moscow on 15 December.
The first proposal
, entitled 'Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Security Guarantees
proposes legally binding commitments by Moscow and Washington not to deploy weapons and forces in areas where they may be perceived as a threat to the other party's national security, demands that the two countries refrain from flying and sailing aircraft and warships to within striking distance of the other party, and sets limits to the deployment of intermediate and shorter-range missiles abroad and in areas where they can hit targets in the other country.
The proposed US-Russia treaty further demands that both parties refrain from deploying nuclear weapons abroad, and that nuclear weapons already deployed be returned to their country of origin. The proposal asks the United States to pledge not to continue NATO's further eastward expansion, and not to invite any more post-Soviet space countries into the alliance. Washington is also asked not to create military bases in post-Soviet countries, and not to use their military infrastructure or develop military cooperation with them. Both countries are restricted from conducting military exercises involving the use of nuclear weapons, or preparing the militaries of non-nuclear states to use nuclear weapons.
The second proposal, entitled 'Agreement on Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation and Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,' outlines the means by which tensions between Russia and the Western bloc and Moscow can be permanently resolved. Its provisions include prohibiting NATO's further expansion and the inclusion of Ukraine into the alliance, and setting limits on the deployment of additional weapons and troops by alliance members beyond the bloc's borders as they stood in 1997 (before the accession of the Eastern European countries into NATO), except in exceptional cases and with Russia's approval.
NATO is asked to abandon its military activities in Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia. NATO and Russia are required not to deploy intermediate and short-range missiles in areas where they can hit the territory of the other side. Both parties are also required not to conduct exercises above the brigade level near an agreed upon border zone, to regularly exchange information on one another's military drills, and establish hot lines for emergency contacts. The document calls for the parties to formally affirm that they do not view each other as adversaries, and to make a commitment not to consciously create conditions which might be regarded as a threat by the other party.
Not a Menu
Commenting on the draft proposals, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov emphasized that they are "not formulated as a menu, where it is possible to pick and choose," but "reinforce one another and must be evaluated in their totality."
Officials in Washington and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that they received the Russian proposals, with the White House saying it was studying them and would be getting in touch with Moscow to discuss next steps "soon."
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed that the US remains prepared for dialogue with Russia "in the appropriate format."
A United Nations spokesman said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has "taken [note] of"
the media reports about Russia's proposals, and that the UN welcomes "dialogue, at various levels, between the Russian Federation and the United States to address differences, de-escalate tensions, and safeguard regional peace."