МОСКВА, 15 февраля 2022, Институт РУССТРАТ.

Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov on February 10, 2022, during a conversation with journalists, said that the main outlines of Moscow’s response to Washington’s reaction to Russian proposals for security guarantees are ready: «The main outlines, they are, of course, already ready… There is a common understanding, but when will it be formulated by the head of state? When he sees fit to do so.»

As is known, written responses from the United States and NATO to the draft Russian agreements on security guarantees were received by Russia on January 26, 2022. And our country sent its proposals in the form of a draft Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on security guarantees and an Agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on December 15, 2021.

Thus, the US and NATO responded in writing to our documents only after a month and a half. Therefore, formally, Russia may not be in a hurry to respond to the written responses of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance.

It should be noted that the texts of confidential written responses from the United States and NATO were leaked to the Western press and published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais on February 2, 2022. Later, a translation of these documents appeared in Russian publications.

The general assessment of the written responses of the United States and NATO to Russian proposals for security guarantees was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 28, 2022 in a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron.

In a statement on the Kremlin website says the following: «The US and NATO responses were not taken into account such fundamental concerns of Russia as preventing NATO expansion, the refusal of accommodation shock weapons systems near the Russian border, and military capabilities and infrastructure unit in Europe on the position of 1997, when was signed the Founding act between Russia and NATO.

A key question was also ignored: how do the United States and its allies intend to follow the principle of indivisibility of security, which is set out in the basic documents of the OSCE and Russia-NATO, which stipulates that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other countries?»

At the same time, a number of Russian experts saw some constructive aspects in these documents. However, it is difficult to share this unwarranted optimism with them. In addition, we will analyse two illustrative quotes from the written responses of the United States and NATO.

Question on Aegis Ashore missile defence facilities (US written response): «The United States is prepared to discuss, in consultation with and, where appropriate with the consent of, Allies, a transparency mechanism to confirm the absence of Tomahawk cruise missiles at Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland, provided Russia offers reciprocal transparency measures on two ground-based missile bases of our choosing in Russia. We must consult with NATO Allies, including Romania and Poland, on this issue.»

In fact, in terms of combat potential, Aegis Ashore facilities have a dual purpose: Mk 41 universal launchers can be used both for launching SM-3 anti-missile systems and for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, i.e. they can perform both anti-missile and strike functions.

If we talk about the strike function, then we are talking about the deployment of medium-range ground-based cruise missiles, since the range of the Tomahawk cruise missile, depending on the modification, can reach 2600 km. In addition, the absence of these missiles at the base at the time of verification does not completely exclude the option of delivering them at any other time and reloading Mk 41 launchers.

However, Russia does not have similar ground-based intermediate-and shorter-range missile facilities on its territory. This restriction was implemented during the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) until August 2, 2019, and after that date it is implemented on the basis of Russia’s voluntary unilateral moratorium on the non-deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

Now here is a quote from NATO’s written response: «European security, including the situation in and around Ukraine: Russia withdrawing forces from Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova where they are deployed without host-nation consent.»

NATO does not recognise the reunification of Crimea with Russia, does not consider the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR independent. In addition, the alliance considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia part of Georgia, and Transdniestria, where Russian peacekeepers are stationed, is the territory of Moldova.

Thus, our country is offered a geopolitical retreat: to give up Crimea, abandon support for the republics of Donbass, withdraw recognition of the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and withdraw peacekeepers from Transdniestria. Just this one point in the written response of NATO is enough to throw it in the trash.

Not only have the United States and NATO ignored Russia’s main concerns about security guarantees, but our country is actually being offered to surrender and cede part of its territory.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the style of presentation of the written responses of the United States and NATO as follows: «Against the background of the paper that was sent to us from NATO, the American response is almost a model of diplomatic decency. From NATO, the answer is ideological, it breathes so much with the exclusivity of the North Atlantic Alliance, its special mission, special purpose, that I was just a little ashamed for those who wrote these texts.»

The written responses of the US and NATO are two documents. However, it should be understood that we are talking about a response from one source – from Washington, because NATO is «USA plus» in the terminology of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. Therefore, it is worth reading these texts as a single document.

It should be noted that outright hostility towards Russia is evident not only on paper. The collective West, primarily the United States and Britain, has launched a frenzied information campaign against our country, in which Russia is painted as an aggressor country preparing to invade and occupy Ukraine. At the same time, weapons and ammunition, mercenaries, fighters of private military companies, instructors and special forces units are actively transferred to Ukrainian territory by NATO member countries.

To create an appropriate atmosphere, the Anglo-Saxon countries (USA, Canada, Britain, Australia) announced the evacuation of family members of diplomats and non-essential personnel from Ukraine. Canada announced the movement of its military contingent to the west of the Dnieper River. The US State Department ordered American employees of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission, whose work is not related to emergency activities, to leave the country. Israel also informed about the evacuation of diplomatic personnel from Ukrainian territory.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has compiled a dossier with some publications in the Western media and noted the following: «A coordinated information attack is being conducted against Moscow aimed at undermining and discrediting Russia’s just demands for security guarantees, as well as justifying Western geopolitical aspirations and military development of the territory of Ukraine.»

On February 11, 2022, the escalation of tension in connection with the situation in Ukraine reached a new peak. Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Jake Sullivan during a press briefing at the White House said the following: «Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible and in any case in the next 24-48 hours.»

He also reported: «We are in the period when the invasion [of Ukraine] can begin at any time, if Vladimir Putin decides to give the order to do so. I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information. But I really want to be clear: this could start during the Olympic Games, despite a lot of speculation that it won’t happen until after the Olympic Games.»

Jake Sullivan even described the scenario of a «Russian invasion of Ukraine»: «If a Russian attack on Ukraine takes place, it will most likely start with aerial bombardments and rocket attacks, which can obviously lead to the death of civilians regardless of their nationality. The subsequent ground invasion will entail an onslaught of huge forces.»

By the way, the American media began to spread information that during a virtual meeting about Ukraine on February 11, 2022, US President Joe Biden allegedly named the date of the «Russian invasion» of Ukraine – February 16, 2022.

This meeting was initiated by Washington. In addition to Joe Biden, it was attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, as well as European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

It is obvious that such statements show the interest of the United States itself in an armed conflict. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova said: «The White House’s hysteria is more revealing than ever. The Anglo-Saxons need war. At any cost. Provocations, misinformation, and threats are their favourite method of solving their own problems. The steamroller of the American military-political machine is ready to go again on the lives of people. The whole world is watching militarism and imperial ambitions expose themselves.»

According to many experts, such an approach of the Anglo-Saxons is an informational preparation for some large-scale provocation in Ukraine. At the same time, the task of this event is to put Russia in such conditions that it would not be able not to intervene in the conflict in Donbass. This is scenario one.

There is also scenario two. It involves exerting political, economic, military and informational pressure on Russia in order to force it to withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine and abandon effective support for Donbass in the event of the Kiev regime’s armed aggression against the L/DPR.

Thus, the main task of Russia at this stage is to maintain self-control and raise awareness of the situation. Another cancellation of the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Israel also indicates the tension in the situation. It was scheduled for February 14, 2022.

However, the tension affects all parties, not only Russia, but also Ukraine and its curators, the United States and its NATO allies. Moreover, Moscow is still holding a pause regarding the military-technical response in connection with the refusal of Washington and the North Atlantic Alliance to provide Russia with security guarantees.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin put it during an expanded meeting of the board of the Russian Foreign Ministry on November 18, 2021: «Nevertheless, our recent warnings still make themselves felt and produce a certain effect: a certain tension has nevertheless arisen there … We need them to maintain this state for as long as possible, so that it doesn’t occur to them to arrange some conflict on our western borders that we don’t need, and we don’t need conflicts.»

By the way, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on its Telegram channel the motto of the diplomatic activity of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR (1957-1985) Andrey Gromyko: «Ten years of negotiations are better than one day of war.»

Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат

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