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Moscow Won't Sit Idly By, Will Take Necessary Measures if Security Proposals Rejected, Lavrov Says

© Sputnik / Максим Блинов / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to Duma lawmakers, January 26, 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to Duma lawmakers, January 26, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
The Russian Foreign Ministry laid out twin security proposals to the United States and NATO in December, recommending a series of measures aimed at dramatically easing tensions between Moscow and the Western bloc. Along with limits on the deployment of troops, missiles, ships and aircraft, Russia proposed that NATO halt its eastward expansion.
Russia expects to receive a formal written response to its security guarantee proposals from Washington soon, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
Speaking to Russian Duma lawmakers on Wednesday, Lavrov indicated that his US counterpart Antony Blinken had assured him during their talks on 21 January that such a response would be forthcoming by the end of the week.
As things stand today, Lavrov indicated, the US and the West are trying to halt the "objective course of history" to ensure one-sided security for themselves without considering the interests of other nations. Lavrov warned that Moscow wouldn't sit idly by amid the West's actions, and would take all the necessary response measures if the US and its allies ignore Russia's security guarantee proposals.

"The president has spoken repeatedly about the situation in the international arena and our foreign policy tasks and initiatives. He recently laid out all the fundamental positions during extended meetings of the collegiums of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defence, in his other speeches and press conferences. Profound changes are taking place in the international arena, and the changes are not entirely positive, to put it mildly. The whole system is in disarray," Lavrov said.

The foreign minister went on to accuse the US and its European allies of trying to push Kiev to engage in direct provocations against Russia. He noted, however, that there are now fewer and fewer nations in the world who want to "pull chestnuts out of the fire" for Washington.
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"Recently, the United States and its European allies, who have thoroughly forgotten the culture of diplomacy, have redoubled their efforts to 'contain' our country. It is enough to observe the increasingly provocative military manoeuvres near our borders, the push to draw the regime in Kiev into the NATO orbit, to supply it with lethal weapons and push it to carry out direct provocations against Russia," Lavrov said.

Lavrov stressed that Moscow would continue to nip in the bud any attempts to present Russia as a party to the conflict in Ukraine, and called on the US, France and Germany to push Kiev to remember its obligations under the Minsk Agreements for Donbass peace.
"In any case, everyone should proceed from the fact that the security of Russia and its citizens is an absolute priority and will be reliably ensured under all circumstances," Lavrov stressed.

Next Stage Will Begin Once Formal Answers Received

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko indicated that Moscow has received "some" answers regarding its security proposals, but not in written form.
"We are waiting. They promised [a written response] before the end of the week," Grushko said. "The next stage will take place when we get their answers," the diplomat added.
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Calling the security guarantee proposals an "appeal to reason," Grushko noted that the evolution of the military situation in Europe and the world has reached a dangerous point. Russia is confident that the potential for peace outlined in the security guarantee initiatives will find support, he said.

"Our proposals, which were formulated by the Russian president, open a direct and clear path in the right direction, not only in insuring the national interests of Russia, which is a fundamental task for us, for diplomats, but also to return to the building of a comprehensive European security on the principles of the indivisibility of security, taking into account the legitimate security interests of others, which will ultimately free up resources for solving non-security issues, for the implementation of the agenda which today is already on the horizon of international politics," he said.

Commenting on Western countries' talk of new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, Grushko stressed that these threats have nothing to do with "real politics".

"'Russian aggression' against Ukraine exists only in the perturbed minds of our partners in the West. They can come up with any sanctions, but this does not belong to the category of real politics," the deputy foreign minister said.

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Also Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters in a briefing that he was confident that the position of Kiev had been taken into account in the US response to Russia's security proposals, and "does not raise any objections from us."
In mid-December, Russia's Foreign Ministry published a pair of draft security agreements for consideration by the United States and NATO which Moscow hopes would considerably ease tensions. The proposals call for legally binding limits on the deployment of troops, missile systems, aircraft and warships in areas where they could be seen as a threat to the other side. The draft agreements also call on the Western bloc to halt its eastward expansion into Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.
Russian diplomats and their Western counterparts have held a series of talks on the proposals this month. NATO and US officials have hinted that the alliance will not heed Russia's calls for a freeze on the bloc's eastward expansion, but have expressed willingness for further talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stressed that its security proposals are "not a menu" that can be picked from at random, but a complex package of measures which must be considered as a whole. Moscow has warned that a rejection of its proposals would force it to take as-yet unspecified measures to establish "counter-threats."
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The security discussions come amid the continued escalation of tensions in Ukraine, with Western officials and media claiming Russia is poised for an imminent invasion of the country. Moscow has dismissed these claims, and accused the US and its allies of deliberately hyping up tensions to justify the expansion of its military footprint near Russia. Russian officials have also expressed concerns that the West may be egging Ukrainian authorities on to try to resolve the frozen civil conflict in the country's east by force.
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