Russia’s relations with the United States may reach a point similar to that of the 1962 missile crisis in Cuba, but there is time to agree on a rational basis for non-NATO enlargement, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today. , making a clear reference to the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
“You know that things can get to this point,” Ryabkov said in response to a question. well, based on the logic of how events unfold, to wake up suddenly and find ourselves in something similar. This will generally mean the failure of diplomacy, the failure of foreign policy. But there is still time to try to agree on a logical basis. ”
Can there be an agreement?
Ryabkov said Russia did not consider it possible for NATO to refuse to sign a guarantee agreement on non-expansion to the east, saying that the agreement could be formulated in different ways, but should be binding.
Ryabkov clarified that Russia sees it as its duty to remove the threat from its borders and that Moscow does not propose to NATO, in the framework of the Security Guarantee Agreement, to establish the status of neutrality in certain territories, so as not to allow enlargement of the alliance to the east.
“No, we do not raise the issue of securing the status of some territories in a document. “What we are aiming at is that we in Russia need legal guarantees for our security at the global level,” Ryabkov said when asked if Russia and NATO could consider granting neutrality status to a number of countries, based on example of Austria, which in 1955 accepted the decision to maintain the status of permanent neutrality.
Ryabkov’s statements come amid growing concerns in the West about an increase in Russian troops near Ukraine. Moscow has expressed concern about Ukraine’s closer ties with NATO and has also blamed Kiev for increasing its troops on the line of contact between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.