LEAVING UKRAINE IN THE LURCH?



Russia will strive to “eliminate unacceptable threats” if the United States and NATO do not concede to the Kremlin’s security requests, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has notified, following top-level engagements between the rival powers. Lavrov informed Russia’s state-run Ria Novosti news medium on Friday that the foreign ministry would not permit the proposals to be rolled up in an "endless discussions” as uncertainties simmer between Moscow and Western powers over Ukraine, where suspicions of a possible Russian invasion have surged in later months, boosted by Moscow’s deployment of tens of thousands of forces along the two countries shared border.




Among Russia’s slew of proposals, many of which are discerned as non-starters in the West is a demand that the US-led NATO transatlantic security bloc pledges to give up any military movement in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.

The Kremlin tells NATO’s proliferation eastward and Kyiv’s evolving ties with the body have weakened security in the region. Lavrov said Moscow would take “all necessary measures to ensure a strategic balance” in the event its concerns were ignored.



OUTCOME OF THE TELEPHONIC CONVERSATION

Biden and Putin had a telephonic conversation in which he took up controversial issues that were hampering their ties in recent times. The discussion pointed to the execution of the agreement to initiate negotiations on providing Russia with lawfully obligatory security guarantees, reached during the December 7 video conference. Vladimir Putin listed the fundamental methods underlying the Russian drafts of the agreement between the Russian bloc and the United States of America and the pact between the Russian Union and the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. He emphasized that the negotiations needed to produce substantial legally mandatory guarantees ruling out NATO’s eastward proliferation and the deployment of weapons that compel Russia near its borders. Vladimir Putin further stressed that the security of any nation cannot be assured unless the law of undivided and absolute security is precisely discerned. Both leaders affirmed their readiness to engage in a serious and substantive dialogue on these issues. It was verified that the negotiations would take place primarily in Geneva on January 9–10 and then as part of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels on January 12. Negotiations are also to be held at the OSCE on January 13. The presidents conceded to personally direct these negotiating tracks, especially bilateral, to reach outcomes promptly.

In this context, Joseph Biden stressed that Russia and the US experienced a special commitment for ensuring resilience in Europe and the whole world and that Washington had no motive of deploying objectionable strike weapons in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin put on an exhaustive answer to the mention once again by Joseph Biden of the pos3sibility of imposing “large-scale” sanctions in the event of an escalation of the situation around Ukraine. He suggested that this would be a grave error, de facto fraught with the danger of a complete breakdown in Russia-US relations.

The presidents exchanged New Year greetings and best wishes. Overall, the conversation took place in a frank and business-like atmosphere and it was certainly of benefit to both parties. The leaders agreed to continue regular contacts at the highest level.




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