In his press conference at the beginning of the year, Sergei Lavrov was clear on Friday (14.1.2022) about the Russian position amid rising tension over Ukraine. “We are waiting for a written response from our colleagues. We believe they understand the need to do this immediately, and to do it in writing. We will not wait forever,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.
Lavrov stressed that “there are plans to disrupt” the operation. “Whatever they say about the need to talk to their allies and the need to involve all members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), they are empty statements and attempts to delay a response.” “We are aware that the prospects for reaching consensus depend on the United States.”
“All in writing”
On the other hand, Lavrov said that when the Russia-NATO Council was created, political agreements on rules of conduct and protocols were negotiated in the context of the armed forces and weapons systems. “No one has talked about consultations with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or the European Union,” declared the head of Russian diplomacy. “We want to see your response in writing, point by point, presented by presenting (…). We want them to tell us ‘This suits us, this does not suit us.’ If not, why, if we can modify it, change the language, And add something. Everything is written please.” The Russian foreign minister stressed that he expected a “mature response” from the United States.
On the other hand, Lavrov did not want to go into detail on Russia’s response in the event of a negative response, after a number of senior officials, including Russia’s deputy minister and chief negotiator with the United States, Sergei Ryabkov, warned of a military response. If the US and NATO do not respond to the Russian request. “As President Putin said, it will depend on what military experts recommend.” “I’m not going to try to read the tea bagel” about the Russian reaction, he said. If our proposals are rejected, and if that happens, we will assess the situation, and we will inform the President. In such a case, he said during his annual press conference, all factors would be taken into consideration, including our security interests. There is no way to predict the future, which is something our Western colleagues are trying to do. “I think it’s counterproductive,” he said.
Military Relations with Partners and Allies
In response to a question about whether Russia will strengthen its military presence outside its borders if its demands are not met, Lavrov replied that Russia has “extensive military relations with our partners and allies and we have a presence in different regions of the world.” “This is a question of bilateral relations,” Lavrov said.
In an interview with the Russian channel RTVI published yesterday, Sergei Ryabkov did not rule out the deployment of military infrastructure in Cuba and Venezuela. “I don’t want to confirm anything (…) or rule out anything,” he said, “number two” in Russian diplomacy.
On the other hand, Lavrov accused NATO of “artificial expansion attempts” by trying to attract not only Ukraine, but also Scandinavian countries that are not members of the Atlantic Alliance. He also said that Moscow expects to increase NATO’s presence near Russia “in the coming months”, citing tensions over Ukraine as an excuse. (efe/afp)
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