“Situation is Critical” – Kremlin Expects Understanding From Washington

“Situation is Critical” – Kremlin Expects Understanding From Washington

Photo: https://www.gazeta.ru/

The meeting of the Russia-NATO Council at the alliance headquarters in Brussels on January 12 showed that the U.S. was not ready to meet Russia's main demands for security guarantees, but the West promised to give Russia an answer this month.

Representatives of some countries in the North Atlantic Alliance were displeased with American diplomats putting forward ideas to reconcile the West and Russia. According to them, the opinion of European countries “was not taken into account” and they learned about the shrinking scale of military exercises only from the media. Meanwhile, official representatives of NATO claimed that “there were no proposals, only ideas.”

Our Western counterparts have long been aware that Russia demands legal guarantees that the NATO bloc will not expand eastwards, will not grant membership to Ukraine and will not set up military bases in former Soviet countries. Moscow has repeatedly underlined that this is not an ultimatum but Russia will not make unilateral concessions for sure. The Kremlin dismisses the possibility that offensive weapons might be deployed in Ukraine, and yet the U.S. and NATO may still take such a step.

“That is why we demand enforceable guarantees,” said Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov. “New U.S. sanctions against the country's leadership will lead to the termination of our relations which is not in the interests of normalization.”

The bill on such sanctions was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Republican Party of the United States. In particular, this document suggests that the U.S. intelligence service report every 20 days to Congress on whether Russia violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine or not. If an “invasion” begins, the “property and visas” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, as well as those businessmen who have been under U.S. sanctions since 2017, will be blocked within ten days.

The launch of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline was suspended after U.S. interference. So, the Americans intend to use another “lever of pressure” on Russia in the situation with Ukraine. The Russian leadership has repeatedly underlined that this project was “exclusively commercial in nature” and called for not politicizing it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov even described the U.S. senators' proposal to impose new restrictions on the pipeline as “a nervous breakdown.” According to him, Moscow sees the bills on new sanctions against Russia as a “continuation of a destructive line.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is facing very difficult foreign policy challenges in the vale of years. Firstly, the crisis in Eastern Europe is escalating. Secondly, negotiations with Iran have come to nothing. Chances are Tehran will now begin to produce weapon-grade uranium. In this case, the U.S. plan, which restricts Iran's nuclear program, simply loses its relevance.

The situation inside the US does not inspire optimism either. Inflation in the U.S. has reached record-breaking levels and is already at 7%. As for the situation with the coronavirus infection, another outbreak has occurred. Alas, the number of infected people in the United States is growing. More than 1.5 million COVID-19 cases are registered daily due to the omicron strain surge in the U.S.

The U.S. has no choice but to mobilize military medical personnel to somehow ease the workload on hospitals due to the influx of infected patients. The fact that intensive negotiations with Moscow have come to nothing adds fuel to the controversy. Russia will not tolerate the gradual invasion of Ukraine by NATO, along with its infrastructure and armament, as well as the fact that training of the Ukrainian military to North Atlantic Alliance standards is in the plans and already underway.

Of course, all these issues will have to be addressed by Biden, and Russia does not give up the hope that the West will take Moscow's concerns about NATO enlargement to the East seriously.

“Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have political wisdom and political experience,” said Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, “This is a good start for developing an understanding but the situation is critical. To continue the dialogue, the Kremlin is waiting for Washington to understand the issues that concern Russia.”

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