Polina Dukhanova, Alena Medvedeva
From the moment the draft treaty on security guarantees was handed over to the United States, Russia saw only attempts by Washington to drag out the discussion of initiatives, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. In addition, the White House and its allies launched an information campaign to portray Moscow as a threat to international stability. In this regard, the department called hypocritical the statement of the US State Department that American representatives were in constant contact with Russian and European colleagues to resolve the situation. The agreement to provide the Russian Federation with a written response to its proposals was announced in Washington only the other day. At the same time, according to the American media, the State Department asked Moscow not to publish the document after receiving it. Experts do not rule out that the forthcoming US response may become the basis for the start of a constructive dialogue.
The US authorities are trying to drag out the discussion of Russian initiatives on security guarantees after they received a draft of the relevant agreement from Moscow. This was stated in the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“During the period that has passed since December 15, 2021, when we officially handed over to Washington the draft treaty on security guarantees and agreements on measures to ensure the security of Russia and NATO countries, on the American side we have seen mostly obvious attempts to drag out the discussion of the specific parameters we propose on various expert levels and formats,” the ministry said in a statement.
Instead of working on a specific response to the Russian side, the White House and its allies launched an information and propaganda campaign against the Russian Federation in order to present it as an “aggressor” and a “threat” to international stability, the Foreign Ministry noted.
In this regard, the department emphasized that the State Department’s statements about the constant contacts of American representatives with Russian and European colleagues as part of a “comprehensive diplomatic effort” to resolve the situation sound “hypocritical and implausible.”
“Build a sense of security”
Earlier, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the United States would provide Russia with a written response to its demands within a week.
“We will put in writing the serious concerns that we, allies and partners have about Russia’s actions, as well as ideas on how we can really increase each other’s sense of security in the future,” Psaki said at a briefing.
According to her, it is about increasing transparency, reducing risks, promoting arms control and building trust. She clarified that Washington coordinates all its actions with allies and partners. At the same time, the press secretary once again noted that the United States does not intend to make any promises on Ukraine’s sovereignty and its right to NATO membership.
Psaki also said she did not believe that the written response to be provided to Russia would in any way “undermine the US negotiating position” or be used to discredit it.
“We are doing what we are considering what is possible to do on the diplomatic path. These are not just written answers, as if we are filling out a questionnaire. We are also going to address our concerns and repeat some of the strong statements you heard from the President and Secretary of State Blinken,” the White House spokeswoman explained.
State Department’s request
Despite Psaki’s statements about the alleged theses that will be included in the response of the United States, the State Department is skeptical about the prospect of its possible publication. Officials in the department even asked Moscow to refrain from publishing the document when it comes into its possession. This was reported on January 21 by the American newspaper The Washington Post, citing sources.
At the same time, the State Department confirmed that Washington’s response will include proposals on security issues. The document itself, according to the interlocutors of the publication, is intended to demonstrate the US interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia. Moreover, the Biden administration expects that the upcoming response will go straight to the table of Vladimir Putin.
A similar assumption, on condition of anonymity, was expressed by high-ranking statesmen in an interview with another American publication, The New York Times.
In their opinion, behind the demand for a written response from the United States is the desire of the President of the Russian Federation to personally familiarize himself with the specific position of the United States.
The US has promised to provide Russia with a written response to the security guarantee demands next week. This was announced on January 20 by the press secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, and then confirmed by Anthony Blinken at a press conference following talks with Sergey Lavrov in Geneva. At the same time, the Secretary of State said that Washington should consult with its partners and allies.
The draft treaty on security guarantees was made public in mid-December. The document consists of eight articles, which include such requirements as non-conduct of any measures affecting the security of the other side, non-use of the territory of other states for the preparation or implementation of an armed attack on each other, non-expansion of NATO to the east, refusal by the United States to create military bases on the territory of states that were formerly part of the USSR and not members of NATO, the renunciation of the deployment of ground-based medium-range and shorter-range missiles, as well as nuclear weapons outside the national territory, and a number of others.
Earlier, the White House expressed readiness to discuss only the non-deployment of American missiles in Ukraine, the prospects for certain missile systems in Europe under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and limiting the scale of military exercises.
However, on January 21, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that further ignoring Moscow’s legitimate concerns would have the most serious consequences. The department also reported that this position was clearly communicated to Anthony Blinken.
Experts interviewed by RT believe that the answer that the United States will present to Russia is likely to be a formality that will still give grounds for further negotiations.
“The US response will be demagogic, as we are used to. Obviously, a lot will be said about Ukraine and its right to determine which alliances it is ready to be in, about the protection of military support for the Ukrainian government from the United States, Britain and other countries. In addition, questions of strengthening Russia’s military cooperation with Cuba and Venezuela may be raised there. And this directly affects the interests of Washington,” suggested political scientist Malek Dudakov.
He also doubted that the US would be willing to make any concessions on issues it had previously declared unacceptable. The expert also suggested that the United States is not interested in their response becoming public knowledge, as they fear that in this way their field for maneuver may narrow and retreat from the designated lines will become impossible.
In turn, Konstantin Blokhin, a researcher at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that the State Department may oppose the publication of a written response due to the fact that this document can be used in the internal political struggle in the United States itself.
“America has to hold midterm congressional elections. At the same time, everyone remembers how the Democrats used Russian-American relations as a tool in the fight against Trump at one time. Therefore, the current administration wants to protect itself from a repetition of such a situation,” explained Blokhin.
At the same time, Pavel Feldman, Deputy Director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, does not rule out that the US response may contain a certain constructive element.
“It is highly likely that the United States will confirm in writing its readiness to negotiate on issues of nuclear deterrence and arms control in Europe. Perhaps they will offer to restore the agreements on open skies and on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, and they will also take the initiative on new dialogue mechanisms that allow the Russian Federation and NATO to carry out mutual monitoring of the exercises,” Feldman said.
In his opinion, the very fact that the United States plans to provide Russia with a written confidential response inspires cautious optimism.
“Despite objectively existing contradictions, Russian-American negotiations continue. If we add up the future response of the Americans and our initiatives, then it may well be that a new joint draft agreement will appear, which will determine the contours of global security for years to come,” the analyst summed up.