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US, NATO Positively Responded to Russian Initiatives They Have Been Rejecting for Years, Lavrov Says

© Photo : Russian Foreign Minisrty / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
The alliance and the US both rejected key security proposals forwarded by Moscow in December of last year to soothe the tensions around Ukraine. These proposals included the non-inclusion of Ukraine in NATO and withdrawal of the alliance's troops, which Moscow views as a security threat, to their 1997 boundaries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that in their response to Moscow's security proposals the US and NATO reacted positively to some of the initiatives that they have been rejecting for years. He namely referred to the bloc's readiness to discuss arms control treaties for Europe.
"The swiftness with which NATO has changed its position suggests that not everything is lost in relations with this bloc; [It indicates] that they can admit the obvious when they really want it", Lavrov said.
The minister recalled Russia declaring a moratorium on deploying short- and intermediate-range missiles in Europe, following the demise of the INF Treaty with the US (due to Washington's unilateral withdrawal from it) in 2019. However, no one wanted to "hear us out" back then, when we offered to discuss new arms control measures, Lavrov said.
The foreign minister also expressed optimism regarding a planned dialogue with NATO on Moscow's less pressing security proposals, like the aforementioned arms control in Europe.
"I think that, thanks to the efforts in all these areas combined, a very good package can be worked out as a result", the minister said.
Lavrov said that Russia will continue the dialogue with the West to find out how determined they are to reach real agreements on security. He specifically said that matters of indivisible security, short- and intermediate-range armaments, as well as reducing the risks of war will be discussed during these negotiations.
The minister also noted Poland's proposal to revive the informal dialogue on European security within the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Lavrov said that such proposals show an "understanding of existing issues" as well as a "willingness" to deal with them.
Western 'Info-Terrorism' on Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went on to comment about the continuing hysteria in the West regarding the alleged "invasion" of Ukraine that Moscow is purportedly planning. He slammed the constant hyping up of the topic by the media, as well as by Western politicians, calling it "info-terrorism".
Lavrov went on to reject the foreign pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops, once again stressing that redeployment of the armed forces is Russia's sovereign right, including to hold military drills. He added that the latter will be conducted as planned and that the recent withdrawal of a portion of the forces from the Ukrainian border following the end of war games was also scheduled.
The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected allegations by the US and other NATO members about it purportedly planning an invasion of Ukraine. Western politicians cited the alleged massing of Russian troops at the border with Ukraine as the primary source of their concerns.
Moscow stressed that it harbours no plans to attack its neighbours and never will. However, Russia warned that it might have to eventually respond to the growing number of NATO troops in the vicinity of its borders, as well as to the bloc's eastward expansion. The latter might involve Ukraine, which received a promise in 2008 that it would eventually be accepted into the bloc.
In light of the growing tensions around Ukraine and NATO's continuing expansion in the direction of Russia's borders, Moscow forwarded its proposals on ensuring security and stability in the region to the US and NATO. Its key proposals included the refusal of the alliance to accept Ukraine's bid to join the bloc and return of the alliance's troops to its 1997 lines. Both the US and NATO rejected these key proposals, but expressed interest in discussing secondary issues, such as arms control treaties for Europe.
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