Moscow has said that the situation was “very dangerous”, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said that it was ready to speak with Russia about possible arms control and deterrence to avoid war in Europe during a second round of talks in Brussels on Wednesday.
According to Reuters, the division between Russia and the Unites States’ approach was clear as day during four hours of the session this week to avert a crisis brought on by the collection of Russian troops near Ukraine. NATO was eager to speak about arms with Russia but would not allow the country to override Ukraine’s aim to join NATO someday, which is something Russia has refused to bow down to, said the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg told a media conference that there was a threat of armed conflict in Europe, adding that there was huge gulf between NATO allies and Russia, which would not be easy to overcome. He, however, expressed satisfaction that all 30 NATO allies sat down with Russia to deliberate on important concerns.
Highlighting Moscow’s position, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said at a press conference that the country was ready to come to the table for discussion about weapons deployment and verification measures of its defense systems but was not keen on its proposals being treated as optional.
Grushko said that if NATO was bent on verifying Russia’s defense systems, Moscow could not go by the alliance’s word that it was merely a defensive organization. He added that if there were moves to contain Russia, the country would respond similarly as well, later warning that if diplomacy proved unfruitful, Moscow would use military methods to protect itself from security threats.
The Russian minister has said that Moscow required an answer from NATO in writing, which would highlight whether their demands were being met or not and also the reasons if their response was going to be in the negative.
He said Moscow wanted written answers from NATO on its proposals and to hear from the alliance how it would implement them or – if not – why it could not do that.
Tensions have mounted between Russia and the US, with the latter having feared that the former was going to invade Ukraine. Russia has categorically denied any aims to do so.
The fresh round of talks was preceded by an earlier meeting between Russia and the US in Geneva on Monday at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Russia had proposed measures for its own security at the meeting, with the main demands being that NATO stopped further expansion and the removal of alliance forces from Europe that joined the organization after 1997. They had demanded for NATO not to bring Ukraine under its fold.
The US has paid no heed to these demands with US Deputy of Secretary of State Wendy Sherman having called them “non-starters”, thereby highlighting the US position that the proposals were unacceptable.