RTL Today – New Cold War? : Russia demands talks on US, NATO containment amid showdown with Ukraine
Russia on Friday unveiled proposals to contain the United States and NATO in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, calling for urgent negotiations with Washington as it gathers forces near the ‘Ukraine.
The United States has said it is willing to speak up, but said up front it largely disagrees with the far-reaching proposals as it renewed warnings of painful retaliation if Russia invades the ‘Ukraine.
Russia has released unfinished security documents – an unusual diplomatic move – calling on the US-led NATO alliance not to bring in new members or establish bases in former countries. -Soviet Union.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia was ready to hold urgent security talks with the United States “on” Saturday.
“We are ready to start immediately, even tomorrow – literally tomorrow, Saturday – talks with the United States in a third country,” he told reporters, suggesting Geneva as the venue.
In Washington, a senior official said the United States expected to respond “within the next week” to Russia on a format for talks, but said he was not enthusiastic about the talks. proposals.
“We are ready to discuss it. However, there are some things in this document that the Russians know will be unacceptable,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
“If there is a new aggression against Ukraine, it will have massive and massive consequences and will come at a high price,” the official said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that the United States has negotiated with Moscow on strategic concerns for decades, but said it would only act in consultation with allies of the United States. NATO.
“There will be no European security talks without our European allies and partners,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One.
– ‘Legal guarantees’ –
The West says Moscow has prepared some 100,000 troops for an impending attack on Ukraine, which has been fighting a pro-Moscow insurgency in its east since 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denies planning an attack and accuses NATO of rising tensions, demanding “legal guarantees” that the alliance will not expand eastward.
The draft document addressed to NATO states that its members should “undertake to refrain from any further enlargement, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other states”.
He also insists that alliance members not carry out military activity in Ukraine or other countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
Moscow and NATO, according to the document, should limit the deployment of missiles, set up an emergency hotline and also work to “prevent incidents” in the Baltic and Black Sea.
The draft said Washington should block NATO membership of any former Soviet country – a reference to Ukraine as well as Georgia, both of which infuriated Moscow after the Western leanings.
The United States and European countries have kept the door open but have also made it clear that Ukraine’s NATO membership is not being considered, much to Kiev’s chagrin.
– ‘Impossible’ requests –
In the draft, Russia said the United States should agree not to establish military bases in states of the former Soviet Union, including Central Asia, which Moscow sees as its backyard and sphere. influence.
The United States has relied heavily on military installations in the former Soviet Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to coordinate operations in Afghanistan, where it recently withdrew its troops after two decades.
Political analyst Konstantin Kalachev called Russia’s list of demands “unrealistic and impossible” for the United States and NATO to meet.
These “spheres of influence are a thing of the past”.
US President Joe Biden met with Putin in Geneva in June, with the two leaders agreeing to seek more stable relations, but Western powers have also stood firm in backing Ukraine amid the war that has claimed 13,000 lives since 2014 .
US President Joe Biden has warned Putin against “sanctions unlike any other he has ever seen” if an offensive is launched.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a call Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, promised to use all “diplomatic and economic powers” to prevent any aggression from Moscow.
Washington is helping train Ukrainian forces and has committed more than $ 2.5 billion to bolster an army that collapsed in the face of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.
A former KGB agent and staunch servant of the Soviet Union, Putin was dismayed when he collapsed, once calling the collapse “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.”