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Russia demands NATO stay out of Ukraine

Source : 112 Ukraine

Russia said it wanted a legally binding guarantee that NATO would give up any military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine
18:11, 18 December 2021

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Russia said it wanted a legally binding guarantee that NATO would give up any military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, part of a wish list of security guarantees it wants to negotiate with the West. This is reported by Reuters.

Moscow for the first time laid out in detail demands that it says are essential for lowering tensions in Europe and defusing a crisis over Ukraine, which Western countries have accused Russia of sizing up for a potential invasion after building up troops near the border. Russia has denied planning an invasion.

The demands contain elements - such as an effective Russian veto on future NATO membership for Ukraine - that the West has already ruled out.

Others would imply the removal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe and the withdrawal of multinational NATO battalions from Poland and from the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that were once in the Soviet Union.

Related: Zelensky to meet with presidents of Poland and Lithuania next week

In Washington, a senior administration official said the United States was prepared to discuss the proposals but added: "That said, there are some things in those documents that the Russians know are unacceptable."

The official said Washington would respond some time next week with more concrete proposals on the format of any talks.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Washington would talk to its allies. "We will not compromise the key principles on which European security is built, including that all countries have the right to decide their own future and foreign policy, free from outside interference," she said.

NATO diplomats told Reuters that Russia cannot have a veto on further expansion of the alliance and NATO has the right to decide its own military posture.

"Russia is not a member of NATO and doesn't decide on matters related to NATO," Polish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina said.

Related: Ukraine confirms first case of Omicron coronavirus strain

 

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