Russia demands NATO, US deny Ukraine membership, roll back military deployments

Vladimir Putin
Associated Press-Evan Vucci/Pool Sputnik Kremlin via AP-Mikhail Metzel

Russia is demanding that the U.S. and NATO deny Ukraine membership into the alliance and asking for a rollback in military deployments, according to draft security agreements released Friday. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry released two documents that were given to the U.S. during a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

In a press release, the ministry said U.S. officials were “given detailed explanations” of the treaties, adding that it hopes Washington will “enter serious talks with Russia in the near future.”

A White House official told The Hill, “We are prepared to discuss matters of security and strategic concern with Russia” 

“We are having discussions with European allies and partners, and will be in touch with the Russian government on next steps soon,” the official said. 

The documents come as the U.S. and allies raise alarms about Russia massing tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine, sparking fears of a possible invasion similar to when Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Moscow, meanwhile, says it’s worried about Ukraine’s buildup of troops in the region. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would seek “reliable and long-term security guarantees” to prevent any NATO movements that would threaten the region.  

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that the U.S. has seen Russia’s demands and is discussing them with European allies.

“There will be no talks on European security without our European allies and partners,” she said. “We will not compromise the key principles on which European security is built, including that all countries have the right to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg separately said the alliance received Russia’s proposals and that “should Russia take concrete steps to reduce tensions, we are prepared to work on strengthening confidence-building measures.”

The proposals to the U.S. and NATO call for the alliance to prevent further eastward expansion, specifically not granting membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations.

The drafts also call for all parties to agree not to deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas that allow them to reach other parties.

In its draft proposal to the U.S., Russia is proposing that the U.S. not establish any military bases in former Soviet states that are not members of NATO or develop any bilateral military cooperation with those countries. 

The agreement also calls for both sides to refrain from deploying warships and aircraft to areas where they can attack targets in the territory of the other party.

The proposed agreement with NATO specifically calls for the alliance to not deploy any more forces or weaponry to territory that were not there in 1997, except in “cases to eliminate a threat of security of one or more parties” with mutual consent.

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

Tags Jen Psaki NATO Russia Russia-U.S. relations tension Ukraine Ukraine-Russia conflict Vladimir Putin

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