Status: 01/30/2022 4:42 p.m
Russia is demanding security guarantees – now not only from NATO, but also from the OSCE, as Foreign Minister Lavrov said. This is crucial for the further action of his country.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has asked NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to clarify their positions. In an official request, his ministry has asked both organizations to explain how they intend to fulfill their commitment “not to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others,” Lavrov said on state television.
This is a key issue for the Russian government when deciding how to proceed. Russia demands guarantees “that ensure security throughout the European continent, with full and equal consideration of Russia’s legitimate interests”. The country is part of the OSCE.
Russia is demanding security guarantees such as the withdrawal of NATO troops from member countries in Eastern Europe and a pledge that Ukraine will never be included in the military alliance. NATO rejects this. The US government only offered Russia talks on arms control.
Moscow demands binding guarantees
“We want good, equal and mutually respectful relations with the United States, as with any country in the world,” Lavrov said on Russian television. At the same time, he reiterated his criticism of NATO, whose defense line is constantly moving eastward and has now come “very close” to Ukraine. Ukraine’s NATO accession would seriously damage relations between the West and Russia, Lavrov warned.
Moscow will continue to seek not only political assurances, but also “legally binding guarantees” to protect Russia’s “legitimate interests.”
“We don’t want war”
Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev dismissed Western warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. “This is completely ridiculous,” he was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency. “We don’t want war and we don’t need it at all.”
According to NATO calculations, Russia has now massed between 100,000 and 120,000 soldiers in areas bordering Ukraine. Units were stationed not only in Russian, but also in the annexed Crimea and in Belarus. The West sees this as preparation for a possible invasion. Analysts speculate that an offensive could begin shortly after the end of the Winter Olympics in China.
Ukraine has wanted to join NATO for years. However, the Eastern European country does not fulfill all the conditions for this and NATO knows how explosive a decision of this kind can be.
According to NATO, the Russian army has also positioned “Iskander” missile systems near Ukraine. (Photo of a maneuver, January 2022)
Baerbock and Le Drian are planning a trip
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that there are no plans to deploy combat-ready soldiers in Ukraine. “There is a difference between being a member of NATO and being a strong and valued partner like Ukraine. There is no doubt about that.” Stoltenberg called on European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas. Being too dependent on one supplier makes Europe vulnerable.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution continue. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian plan to travel to Ukraine together on February 7. This was announced by Le Drian, whose country currently holds the EU Council Presidency. Together with Russia and Ukraine, both countries form the so-called Normandy format to resolve the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine.