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NATO-Russia talks – what to expect from them? / Script

Russia’s demands for written security guarantees from the West are being discussed in various formats this week. The start was on Monday, January 10th US – Russia talks in Geneva. Although the discussion, which lasted more than seven hours, was welcomed, at least the head of the US delegation, Wendy Sherman, emphasized that it could not be called real negotiations.

Other commentators also pointed out that if there was a simple and clear solution to this situation, the presidents would have met rather than the deputy foreign ministers. And as large delegations were involved in the negotiations, it is clear that

there is a great, hard, tiring and tedious task ahead in the search for compromises that can satisfy both parties.

A different view

On Wednesday, January 12, such possible points of contact will be sought in Russia’s talks with NATO. Here, too, one should not expect a solution soon, not least because Russia still sees NATO as an enemy.

This is also confirmed by the recent statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: “If NATO were a defense alliance, as Jens Stoltenberg continues to chant on every corner, NATO would not continue to expand to the east. NATO is currently embarking on a highly geopolitical project to take over the territories left homeless after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. ”

Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorsky responded quite sharply to Lavrov’s statements, which, for example, were actively circulated by the Russian embassy in Britain. According to him, no one is left an orphan, because Russia has never been the father of Poland – rather a serial rapist. That is why no one is sad after Russia. And if Russia tries to repeat it again, it will get hit in the leg.

As with the US talks, Russia has a very clear approach to talks with NATO, demanding that NATO’s further enlargement not be allowed closer to Russia’s borders, and that the Alliance’s presence in the so-called new member states be reduced.

Possible concessions?

According to Dmitry Trenin, head of the Moscow office of the Carnegie think tank, Russia’s position on some of these issues is likely to be principled, while some may seek concessions. “Moscow insists on the need to move forward rapidly, emphasizing in particular that Russia’s offer must be at the heart of the negotiations. And, in my opinion, this is not an issue for Russia. However, until these issues are addressed, other issues will not receive enough attention.

I also believe that Russia’s demand to abandon the military infrastructure set up in the new NATO member states is a matter of less interest to Moscow.

Therefore, this could be an area where Russia could make some concessions if it sees progress on two more serious issues – the non-enlargement of NATO and the non-proliferation of NATO infrastructure, “said Trennin.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said before the upcoming talks that there can be no question of reducing the Alliance’s presence in Eastern or Central Europe. It is also not worth insisting on restrictions on a member state joining the alliance. Here, of course, the focus is on Ukraine, because the West is very much hoping that these talks will help ease tensions on its borders or even military conflict.

Efforts to divide NATO

Former American diplomat Debra Keigan said in an interview with the US public broadcaster PBSO that Russia would definitely try to achieve a division among the alliance members. “If they continue to insist that NATO withdraw its forces to pre-1997 levels, that is ridiculous and will certainly not happen. This is because Washington and other NATO countries will never treat Paris, Berlin or London better than Warsaw, Vilnius or Bucharest. That is exactly what Russia is demanding, and it has absolutely no chance.

And I think the Russians know very well that such demands will be rejected, but they are trying to separate some of the old NATO members from the new ones.

And that is to be expected, ”said Keigan.

As security expert Edward Lukass pointed out in an interview with the Estonian public media, it is possible that such a split has already taken place, as Europe has been left out of the US direct talks with Russia. According to him, the West has made a number of mistakes so far, looking at these negotiations only as negotiations, because the dialogue alone will not make different world views disappear.

Lucas is also convinced that Russia’s tactics of intimidation have worked and that he is leading the negotiations. But the West should be the ones to dictate the agenda.

“We should not discuss their agenda with Russia. It is not only unacceptable for the United States and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, nor is it the way it is presented – it is intimidation of the mafia, not diplomacy. We should discuss the issues we have chosen: arms control, conventional and nuclear weapons, and space.

There are a number of agreements that Russia has withdrawn from, but we can try to return them.

“We should also talk about the democracy and human rights agenda that the Soviet Union once signed up to, and there is no reason why we should not talk about it with Russia,” said Edward Lucas.

As a number of political observers have pointed out these days, the statements that are being made these days by Russia and also by the West do not at all reflect the real situation. It is likely that, both after today’s talks and after the OSCE talks, Russia will still seriously consider what has been discussed to see if it is at all interested in continuing any talks.


In Russia, several military units have been sent to the border area with Ukraine, according to Western intelligence services. Western countries have repeatedly warned against repeating Moscow tensions in the region.

Meanwhile, Russia requested security guarantees from the US and NATO member states. Russia wants NATO not only to commit itself not to expand further east, but even to retreat from existing positions. United States promised not to make decisions behind the Allies.

The talks between the US and Russian delegations, which focused on the security guarantees demanded by Russia and the tense situation at the Ukrainian border, took place on January 10.

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