Moscow “disappointed” with lack of understanding from West ahead of upcoming security talks

Russia harbors no illusions and does not expect “swift progress” from this week’s security talks with the US and NATO, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said, adding that the collective West does not understand Moscow.

“We have realistic expectations,” he told Interfax, on Sunday, adding that it would be “naïve” to believe the negotiations would lead to visible – not to mention “swift” – progress.

“There is a good chance that … we will face the US and NATO’s unwillingness to understand what we really need,” Ryabkov replied to a another question from RIA Novosti. He also called “signals” coming from Western capitals ahead of the encounters “disappointing.”

The US and its allies maintain it is Russia that “should do this or that,” and such a position “could not be a basis for any productive discussion, not to mention an agreement,” the diplomat believes. He explained that what Moscow seeks is “legally binding guarantees of NATO non-expansion further to the east.” The alliance also should dismantle “everything it has created while driven by anti-Russian phobias and delusional perceptions about Russia’s policies since 1997,” the deputy minister added.

If the US and NATO once again resort to pressure and threats instead of dialogue, that would only lead the talks into a deadlock, Ryabkov warned.

We will not make any concessions while facing pressure and threats that are currently being leveled against us.

The senior diplomat said Russia is determined not to let the Western bloc bury the negotiations in “endless discussions of the same issues” as was the case in the Russia-NATO Council up until 2019. He also admitted Moscow is “absolutely” not optimistic about the potential outcome of the talks.

NATO ‘never promised’ not to expand, US claims

His words come ahead of the US-Russia meeting scheduled for January 10 in Geneva, Switzerland. It will be followed by a Russia-NATO Council session on January 12 – the first since 2019. On January 13, security consultations within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will start.

The talks were prompted by escalating tensions between Russia and the West in recent months. Western nations are concerned about Moscow’s alleged plans to invade Ukraine – something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied and blamed on anti-Russian “hysteria.”

The situation prompted Moscow to table a set of security proposals, which included curbs on NATO expansion and security guarantees for Russia. Some of these demands have already been rejected by the US and its allies, as both NATO and Washington have said that the alliance would never promise not to expand.

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