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Lavrov: US Did Not Respond to Main Question - On Non-Expansion of NATO

© Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky / Go to the mediabankNATO banners in front of the organization's headquarters in Brussels
NATO banners in front of the organization's headquarters in Brussels - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States, in its response to Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, left the main question about non-expansion of NATO to the east unanswered, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
"There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document. The main issue is our clear position that further NATO expansion to the east and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation are unacceptable," Lavrov told reporters.
Lavrov also said that Russia is reviewing the US response.
"The content of the document - there is a reaction that allows us to count on the start of a serious conversation, but on secondary issues," Lavrov added.
The content of the United States’ response to Russian proposals on security guarantees will be known soon, the Russian top diplomat said.

"As for the content of the response, I think it will become known to the general public in the very near future, because, as our American colleagues told us, although they prefer the document to remain for a confidential diplomatic dialogue, it has been agreed with all US allies and with the Ukrainian side. Therefore, I have no doubt that in the very near future it will ‘leak," Lavrov told reporters.

He also stressed that Moscow is considering the US and NATO responses on security guarantees as a whole.
A U.S flag waves on the car of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan next to the main entrance to the Russian Foreign Ministry building during Sullivan's visit to the Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Sullivan delivered a U.S. response to the Russian demands for security guarantees over NATO and Ukraine.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
Russia Receives US Written Response to Security Guarantees Proposal Amid Heightened Ukraine Tensions
According to Lavrov, the United States deliberately aims to avoid discussing the need to follow the principle of indivisibility of security, and Russia is not ready to accept this.
"The principle that one should not strengthen one's security at the expense of the security of others is deliberately avoided. Neither the Istanbul nor the Astana declarations are mentioned by our Western partners in the discussions on European security that are currently taking place … We cannot accept this," Lavrov said.

The minister added that Russia will soon send an official request to the US and NATO and ask why they regard provisions of the principle of indivisibility of security separately from each other.
Russia's next step after receiving the responses of the United States and NATO to its European security proposals will be determined by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said.

"After an interdepartmental consultation, we will brief the president, and the president will decide on our next steps," the minister concluded.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about Russia and Ukraine during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
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In December, the US received the list of security proposals from Russia expected to de-escalate tensions between Moscow and NATO over the situation in eastern Ukraine. The draft agreements were later published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website. The documents suggest that the sides provide legally binding written guarantees to each other not to deploy troops and military equipment in areas where they could be viewed as a threat to the other side and also restrict the deployment of Russia and US nuclear weapons abroad. In addition to that, Moscow suggested that the US and NATO make a commitment not to continue the alliance's expansion to the east and never accept Ukraine or any other former Soviet republic into NATO.
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