(CNN) — The written responses submitted by the United States and NATO to Russia’s security demands did not address Moscow’s main concern: the expansion of the North Atlantic alliance to the East.
“There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.
“The main problem is our clear position on the inadmissibility of NATO’s further expansion to the East and the deployment of attack weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation.”
Lavrov explained that the US and NATO had previously agreed in the OSCE context not to expand at the expense of Russia’s security.
“We present non-verbal promises, written documents signed by the leaders of all the countries of the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), including the president of the United States (Istanbul Declaration of 1999, Astana Declaration of 2010 ), our Western partners have to get out of a more serious situation,” Lavrov explained.
“This principle is clearly established. It has two main interrelated approaches. In the first place, the right of every State to freely choose military alliances is recognized. Second: the obligation of each state not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others”, added the Russian foreign minister.
“In other words, the right to choose alliances is clearly conditioned by the need to take into account the security interests of any other OSCE state, including the Russian Federation,” Lavrov concluded.
Russia’s foreign minister admitted that the US and NATO responses could lead to serious discussions, but only on minor issues.
“There is a reaction there that allows us to start a serious conversation, but on secondary issues,” he said.
Russia will not give an answer soon
Prior to Lavrov’s statement, the Kremlin had reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had read the US and NATO’s written responses to his security demands, but said he and his government would not rush to any conclusions. .
“The president has already read the written answers,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call on Thursday. “All the papers are with the president. He will take some time to analyze them, we will not rush to any conclusion.”
Peskov said Russia’s response would not take long, but warned it would not happen immediately.
“The reaction should not be delayed, but waiting for the reaction the next day would probably be foolish,” he said.
The Kremlin spokesman said Russia’s main concerns had apparently not been addressed, but refused to give a definitive official response to the responses put forward by the United States and NATO.
“It cannot be said that our considerations were taken into account or that the willingness to take our concerns into account was shown, but, once again, I repeat, we will not rush to judgment,” Peskov explained.
“He heard the statement from both the Secretary of State [de EE.UU.] [Antony Blinken] like the one of [Secretario General de la OTAN, Jens] Stoltenberg, where they spoke absolutely unequivocally about the rejection of our fundamental concern,” added Peskov, noting that there were hardly any positive signs.
“There is little reason for optimism, but I would refrain from making conceptual assessments,” he said.