Status: Open

Leaked Documents Of The U.S. And Its Allies’ Response To Russia’s Security Concerns

February 3, 2022

The Spanish newspaper El País published the full responses of the United States and NATO to Russia’s security proposals. In them, the United States expresses its readiness to discuss mutual obligations under the condition of de-escalation of the situation on the border with Ukraine, but at the same time does not refuse to support NATO’s “open door” policy. In particular:

  • According to documents published in the Spanish newspaper El País, containing responses to Russian demands for security guarantees, The US and NATO have rejected Russia’s key demands but are open to dialogue with regards to arms control and military incidents. As the diplomatic maneuvers unfold, the parties, however, continue to demonstrate military force: Russia is building up troops near the border with Ukraine and in Belarus, while the United States is sending new units to Eastern Europe.
  • The NATO response clearly states the alliance shows no intent to abandon the “open door policy”. The document does not say anything about NATO’s readiness to withdraw forces to any previous positions and provide Russia with guarantees not to deploy offensive arms. On the contrary, several counter-demands to Moscow have been voiced.
  • “NATO’s response does not contain anything at all that would be of interest to Russia,” Andrey Baklitskiy, PIR Center consultant, notes.
  • At the same time, the US response looks more constructive and elaborate. Washington aims to cooperate with Moscow “to achieve mutual understanding on security issues” and is also ready to sign legally binding agreements.
  • Among other things, the United States suggests Moscow and Washington discuss commitments to refrain from deploying offensive ground-based missile systems and permanently deployed forces with combat missions on the territory of Ukraine. The U.S. expresses its readiness to investigate the possibilities of reciprocal transparency measures (regarding Tomahawk missiles in Romania and Poland), exercise notification regime, and risk-reduction measures, including on strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons.
  • In addition, the U.S. is ready to discuss positions regarding conventional arms control. The document specifically emphasizes that the United States is ready to “immediately” start a conversation with Russia about new measures under the Treaty on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
  • With regards to Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, Washington emphasizes the “inalienable right of every state to freely choose or change security measures, including treaties and alliances” as the vital part of the indivisible security principle.
  • The document emphasizes progress in all the areas mentioned: “provided that Russia deescalates its threatening actions against Ukraine”. “De-escalation is not yet visible: the parties are waiting to see who blinks first, fearing the diplomatic process might only be a smokescreen,” says Dmitry Stefanovich, a researcher at the Center for International Security at IMEMO RAS.

To learn more about the U.S: and NATO’s response to Russia’s security concerns, see Elena Chernenko’s piece at Kommersant (in Russian).