White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the United States has seen proposals from Russia, and is ready to start talks that could help defuse the crisis over Ukraine. However, “there will be no talks on European security without our European allies and partners,” the spokeswoman told reporters.
“We will not compromise the key principles on which European security is built, including that all countries have the right to decide their own future and foreign policy, free from outside interference,” she added.
On Thursday, Russian officials announced that the country is ready to send a government negotiator “at any moment” to start talks with the United States on the security guarantees sent earlier.
Moscow is extremely disappointed by signals coming from the US and NATO regarding Russian proposals on security guarantees, the TASS news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday.
The Russian deputy FM told reporters that Russia was not willing to put up with the current situation anymore. He urged the United States to take the proposals seriously and come up with a constructive response fast.
The proposals sent by Russia regard several key issues and can be summarised as follows:
- To rule out further NATO expansion and Ukraine’s accession to the alliance.
- Not to deploy additional troops and weapons outside the countries in which they were in May 1997 (before any Eastern European countries joined the alliance) - except in exceptional cases with the consent of Russia and NATO members.
- To abandon any NATO military activities in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
- Not to deploy intermediate and shorter-range missiles where they can hit the territory of the other side.
- Not to conduct exercises with more than one military brigade in an agreed border zone, and to regularly exchange information about military exercises.
- To confirm that the parties do not consider each other as adversaries, and agree to resolve all disputes peacefully and refrain from the use of force.
- To commit not to create conditions that might be perceived as a threat by the other party.
- To create hotlines for emergency contacts.
“Any dialogue with Moscow would also need to address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on core principles and documents of European security, and take place in consultation with NATO's European partners, such as Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said commenting on the proposals, before Russia made them public.
He added that NATO had “made clear that should Russia take concrete steps to reduce tensions, we are prepared to work on strengthening confidence-building measures.”
Tensions between the US, NATO, their allies and Russia, started to rise after Moscow moved more than 90,000 troops within reach of the Ukrainian border as if it was preparing for an attack. However, Russia denies that it has any intentions to invade the former Soviet Union Republic.
Russia says it feels threatened by growing ties between NATO and Ukraine, which wants to join the alliance, and the possibility of NATO missiles being deployed against it on Ukrainian soil.