Russia says it would be nothing more than a NATO ban

Moscow (AP) —Russia remains tough in tensions over military buildup near Ukraine, with the Supreme Diplomat on Wednesday saying that Moscow is a “watertight” U.S. that hinders NATO’s expansion into Ukraine. He warned that he would accept nothing but a guarantee.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation at a security talk with the United States in Geneva last week, reaffirmed that Moscow had no intention of invading Ukraine as the West feared, but the West. He said it was absolutely necessary for Moscow to receive security.

Last week, a meeting in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia conference in Brussels were held. Russia has gathered an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine, fearing the West may foretell an invasion.

As a move to further strengthen its power near Ukraine, Russia has sent an unspecified number of troops from the Far East of the country to Belarus, which borders its ally Ukraine, for a major war game next month. Ukrainian officials say Moscow could use Belarus’ territory to launch a potential multi-faceted aggression.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that some of its troops had already arrived in Belarus for training in Allied resolution 2022. The exercises will take place in five Belarusian shooting ranges and other areas, including four Belarusian Air Force bases.

Amid heightened tensions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine on Wednesday to reassure Western support in the face of what he called a “persistent” Russian invasion.

Russia denied its intention to attack its neighbors, but demanded that NATO ensure that it would not expand to Ukraine or other former Soviet nations or place its troops or weapons there. He also urged NATO to roll back the deployment of troops and weapons to Central and Eastern European countries that joined the alliance after the end of the Cold War.

Washington and its allies categorically rejected Moscow’s request, but left the door open to the possibility of further talks on arms control and confidence-building measures aimed at reducing the potential for hostilities.

However, Ryabkov argued that there could be no meaningful discussion on these issues unless the West listened to Russia’s main demand for NATO’s non-expansion.

He said that Russia’s request contained in the draft agreement between the United States and NATO “makes it different in order to form a package and start processing some of them at the expense of being idle elsewhere. Not ready to split into parts. “

Russian diplomats emphasized that increasingly close ties with Ukraine’s NATO allies pose a major security challenge to Russia.

“We are witnessing the threat of further integration of Ukraine into NATO without gaining formal status as a NATO member,” said Lyabukov, supplying Ukraine with weapons, training its troops and joint training. Pointed out the Western countries that are implementing. “This is directly linked to the center of Russia’s national security interests, and we will do our utmost to reverse this situation and readjust it through diplomatic means.”

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 after a large-scale protest urged Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leaders to flee to Russia. At the same time, Russia also cast support behind the separatist rebellion that struck large areas of eastern Ukraine. Over 14,000 people were killed in nearly eight years of fighting there.

The idea disseminated by some political experts, asked if Russia could accept the moratorium of NATO’s eastern expansion, was resolutely saying that Moscow had retreated the West with its previous promise. I answered no.

He emphasized that “the priorities for us are the achievement of watertight, bulletproof and legally binding guarantees” and that Ukraine and other former Soviet countries will not join the alliance.

Ryabkov also suggested that the United States could have a one-sided obligation to never vote for NATO accession to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.

Russia has called on the United States and NATO to provide a prompt written response, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he expects reporters to receive it “within a few days” on Wednesday. rice field.