- Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
Russia-NATO Row on European Security
Russia proposed draft agreements on security guarantees for NATO and the US in late 2021 requesting the alliance not to expand eastward as Moscow considers such a move a threat to its national security. NATO insists it will not allow its "Open Door" policy to be slammed shut.

Stoltenberg Says NATO Won't Agree to Keep Military Within Pre-1997 Borders

© REUTERS / JOHANNA GERONNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium January 7, 2022.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium January 7, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.01.2022
Russia previously slammed the alliance's creeping expansion, saying that NATO should return to the positions that existed at the moment of signing the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act. The Russian Foreign Ministry has underscored that strengthening NATO’s military potential near Russia’s borders poses a national security threat.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday the bloc would never pull allied troops from member states that had joined it since 1997, but is ready to discuss arms reduction with Russia.
"Of course, we cannot agree that we should have no NATO troops in all the countries that have joined NATO since 1997. That’s actually half of our members," he said in an interview with CBC News airing Sunday.
This would mean having a second-class NATO of countries not protected by the alliance, the secretary-general said, adding "we will never introduce that."

"But we are ready to engage in balanced, verifiable measures to reduce arms, conventional nuclear missiles and that kind of things. That would be good for Russia and good for NATO," Stoltenberg said.

On Monday, Russia and the US held a strategic stability dialogue meeting in Geneva. The bilateral talks were followed by a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, the first since 2019, and OSCE talks in Vienna the next day.
According to the Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, the talks were meant to "preserve peace and stability" in Europe by putting legally binding guarantees down on paper.
Russia-NATO council in Brussels, Belgium - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.01.2022
NATO-Russia Relations Near Red Line Due to Alliance's Military Support of Ukraine, Peskov Tells CNN
On December 17, Russia released its draft security suggestions to the United States and NATO, which include mutual security guarantees in Europe, non-deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles within reach of each other's territory, and NATO's non-expansion eastward into former Soviet republics surrounding Russia.

The US and allies insist NATO's open-door policy is not subject to discussion, but have expressed readiness to talk about issues where progress is possible. Russia maintains its package of proposals is "not a menu," and the alliance's non-enlargement is central thereto.

In 1997, Russia and NATO signed the Founding Act, under which the alliance pledged to "carry out its collective defense and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." However, three former Warsaw pact members – Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic – joined NATO right away in 1999, followed by Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, as well as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia in 2004.
NATO’s expansion after the Cold War has been the largest to date, both in the number of new members admitted and in terms of the political consequences.
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