Putin Wants Formal Security Guarantees From the Empire, No to Ukraine as a NATO Missile Silo
"See how close NATO military infrastructure has moved to Russia’s borders. This is more than serious for us."
Editor’s note: Now that he has everyone’s attention, Putin spells out the terms: No more creeping expansion of NATO military infrastructure eastwards. No to Ukraine as a NATO missile silo. Romania today, Ukraine tomorrow. From the Russian perspective that is where NATO’s never-ending repositioning is logically headed. Ukraine’s NATO membership will likely never happen, but it doesn’t matter. NATO can just as well turn it into a military colony without such a membership.
What follows is an excerpt from Putin’s speech at a ceremony with 20 incoming foreign Ambassadors. The speech came a day before the Blinken-Lavrov meeting today.
“[W]e express our concern not only over the fact that the international community is acting separately and cannot unite to address truly important problems, but also over how some of our partners are behaving towards our country, towards Russia, trying to restrain our development in every possible way, to exert sanctions pressure and, moreover, to escalate tensions near our borders.
By the way, the threat on our western border is really growing, and we have mentioned it many times. It is enough to see how close NATO military infrastructure has moved to Russia’s borders. This is more than serious for us.
In this situation, we are taking appropriate military-technical measures. But, I repeat, we are not threatening anyone and it is at the very least irresponsible to accuse us of this, given the real state of affairs. This would mean laying the blame at the wrong door, as the Russian saying goes.
In my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I already stressed that the priority facing Russian diplomacy at this juncture is to try to ensure that Russia is granted reliable and long-term security guarantees.
While engaging in dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on the elaboration of concrete agreements that would rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory. We suggest that substantive talks on this topic should be started.
I would like to note in particular that we need precisely legal, juridical guarantees,because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments they made. Specifically, everyone is aware of the assurances they gave verbally that NATO would not expand to the east. But they did absolutely the opposite in reality. In effect, Russia’s legitimate security concerns were ignored and they continue to be ignored in the same manner even now.
We are not demanding any special terms for ourselves. We understand that any agreements must take into account the interests of both Russia and all other states in the Euro-Atlantic region. A calm and stable situation should be ensured for everyone and is needed by all without exception.
That said, I would like to stress that Russia is interested precisely in constructive collaboration and in equitable international cooperation, and this remains the central tenet of Russian foreign policy. I hope that you will convey this signal to the leaders of your states.”
Source: The Kremlin
I doubt that 'substantive talks' are an offramp. That looks too easy & doubtfully the real ask. I also don't see Russia getting 'precisely legal, juridical guarantees.' This is coercive diplomacy, but careful with being optimistic that there's an easily attainable de-escalation.
— Michael Kofman (@KofmanMichael) December 2, 2021