Wednesday, November 30

The US agrees with Russia to respond in writing to its demands to defuse the crisis

“Written response.” It is the commitment made by the United States with Russia this Friday in Geneva in the face of security concerns raised by the Kremlin at the end of last year. “Hysteria”. This is how the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, defines the reaction of the US, the EU and NATO to the accumulation of Kremlin troops on the border with Ukraine. An accumulation that Vladimir Putin justifies by the progressive advance towards the East of the Atlantic Alliance in the last two decades. Thus, Russia demands written guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia will never be part of NATO, something that both NATO and the EU and the US reject.

Between the written response to defuse the crisis and the hysteria to define the Western reaction, a new round of contacts is headed with a view to cooling down tensions in Eastern Europe.

Lavrov has also described the talks with Blinken as “constructive and useful”, but has acknowledged that he will not know if they are on the right path until they receive the US’s written response to his proposals. “It is not true that Russia wants to create a new sphere of influence in Eastern Europe,” said Lavrov, who pointed out that this is precisely what NATO intends, and stated that “President Putin is always ready for contacts with President Biden.”

The Russian foreign minister has also accused the West of acting hysterically over the possibility of a war in Ukraine. “This is hysteria,” he said, “let’s hope emotions don’t dominate.”

Sergei Lavrov once said written question and answer session on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry that Russia’s demands included “the withdrawal of foreign forces, equipment and weapons and other measures to return to the 1997 configuration on the territory of countries that were not members of NATO at that date”, when NATO began to admit countries of the Warsaw Pact. “That includes Bulgaria and Romania,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia’s demand was “basic” and “deliberately worded as clearly as possible so as not to allow interpretations.”

The Spanish Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, has announced the shipment of two ships to the Black Sea and is evaluating an aerial deployment of fighters, precisely, in Bulgaria.

Blinken has repeated: “We are committed to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to try to resolve our differences. But we are also committed, if that proves impossible and Russia decides to pursue aggression against Ukraine, to a united, rapid and severe response. We do not expect to resolve our differences here today. But I do hope that we can test whether the path of dialogue diplomacy remains open. We are committed to walking that path and resolving our differences peacefully.”

The US Secretary of State defends that there are issues that Russia, the US and the EU can consider together: for example, transparency in military operations and arms control. But he insists that the US “will not abandon fundamental principles, such as the ‘open door’ policy in NATO.” Blinken also confirms that the US will share “ideas” in writing with Russia next week, and expresses the hope that there will be more diplomacy to overcome the Ukraine crisis.

Faced with the possibility of an attack, invasion or incursion, which US President Joe Biden considered almost certain on Wednesday night, the United States, NATO and the EU have been warning that an invasion would trigger immediate economic sanctions and massive.

Before the meeting, both Lavrov and Blinken lowered expectations of a 90-minute meeting that was not planned to resolve all pending issues, after a previous week with different meetings in NATO and the OSCE.

“What we expect are concrete responses to our concrete proposals along the lines of and in compliance with the obligations that were adopted at the highest level within the OSCE. I am referring in particular to the principle of the indivisibility of security, as well as the obligation of countries not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. We would be very interested to hear how the United States interprets these obligations and these principles,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the EU ambassadors agreed on a first draft of the conclusions of the Council of Foreign Ministers on Ukraine and Russia next Monday, and point out that “any military aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe costs” . If Russia consummates an “aggression” on Ukraine, the EU will enact sanctions “in a matter of days”, according to a community source, who affirms that the EU will respond “at the height of the circumstances, the greatest tension since the end of the Cold War “.

a few days ago, Lavrov warned: “Our patience has run out. We are very patient. You know what they say about how long it takes the Russians to bridle their horses? They bridle them slowly, but then it’s time to mount. security guarantees, the answer may vary. It depends on the recommendations that the Russian military makes to the president. There is no point in speculating. We regret that the European Union itself destroyed, more than 7 years ago, all the mechanisms for discussing the practical aspects of the security. We turned to the United States and NATO.”

Sources close to the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, explained this Wednesday after Borrell’s call with Blinken, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the Polish presidency of the OSCE, insisted that “the European Union is ready to continue the declaration through diplomatic channels. We may have different problems in Ukraine, and we have to be prepared to deal with it.” The idea, too, is to present a strong, clear and united transatlantic front”.

And this occurs at a time when the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has defended in the European Parliament, as part of his priorities as head of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, that “Europe must finally build a security order collective. The security of our continent requires a strategic rearmament of Europe as a power of peace and balance, in particular in the dialogue with Russia. We will ensure that Europe makes its single, strong voice heard on the issue of strategic arms, of conventional weapons, the transparency of military activities and respect for the sovereignty of all European states, regardless of their history.These coming weeks should lead us to make a European proposal a reality that builds a new order of security and stability. We must build it among Europeans, then share it with our allies in the framework of NATO. And then offer it for negotiation to Russia.”

“A threat is a threat,” said the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on Thursday after meeting with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, “and, certainly, when you concentrate 140,000 soldiers on the border, you can use it in many ways. different ways. The Europeans have to be giving their point of view on this issue, nothing can be agreed on European security or security in Europe without the participation of the Europeans. And President Macron did not say that the Europeans were going to present their own proposals to the Russians. He said that, together with the allies, the Europeans have to take into account what they understand by the order of security in Europe. And on that, I completely agree with President Macron.”

The president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, reaffirmed this Thursday: “Once again we are faced with the interference of some powers in the affairs of their neighbors. We will not return to the old logic of competition and spheres of influence, where countries whole were treated like possessions or backyards. We have intense days of diplomacy in different formats, with and without Russia. Russia has made its proposals. And it is good that we have a dialogue. But we do not accept Russian attempts to divide Europe into spheres of influence “We want the conflicts to be resolved in the bodies that have been formed for this purpose. But if the situation deteriorates, if there are more attacks on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, we will respond with massive economic and financial sanctions. The transatlantic community stands firm in this”.