The proposal comes as Russia continues to pool forces on Ukraine’s border and targets the United States, NATO and Ukraine’s other allies.
Russia on Friday detailed its demands for a new and sweeping security settlement in Eastern Europe with the West, with a far-reaching request to ensure a written guarantee that NATO will not expand further east toward Russia and end all military operations in Ukraine.
The Russians have also said they are demanding that NATO remove all military infrastructure installed in Eastern Europe after 1997 – demands that analysts say seem unacceptable to the West.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryavkov presented the details of the proposal to the public for the first time on Friday, at a video press conference in Moscow, against the backdrop of the accumulation of Russian forces near Ukraine’s border.
The demands went far beyond the current conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. And most of them were not aimed at Ukraine, which is threatened by the accumulation of Russian forces on its border. But towards the United States and Ukraine’s other Western allies.
They included a request for a NATO commitment not to include Ukraine specifically. But it is unlikely that NATO countries will officially deny future membership for Eastern European countries.
Russia has insisted that the West accelerate the crisis by instilling anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine, and by supplying weapons. Mr Ryabkov presented the conflict in Ukraine as a critical threat to Russia’s security.
The United States and its European allies, however, claim that Russia has provoked the security crisis by deploying tens of thousands of troops recently near the border with Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made some of the demands more widely in recent weeks. But this official Russian proposal on Friday to ease tensions on the Ukrainian border follows a video call between President Biden and Mr Putin on December 7. After the call, Mr Biden said he was ready to hear from the Russians.
Russian officials said diplomats passed the proposal to a senior U.S. diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for European and European Affairs, on Wednesday during a meeting in Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week that Moscow was looking for a “legal and binding” document banning any further NATO expansion east into Europe. The Russian proposal took the form of a draft declaration by NATO.
“The member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization accept the obligation not to include any further extension of NATO to Ukraine and other countries,” the text proposed as an acceptable guarantee for Russia.
The demand is in direct conflict with NATO’s declared “open door” policy, which was returned only this week. NATO chief met with Ukrainian president to pave way for Ukraine to join NATO membership. Otherwise Ukraine has asked pp to deter or deal with a possible Russian invasion.