Russia: relaxation only when NATO forces leave Eastern Europe

Russia wants NATO to withdraw almost all its troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and distance itself from Ukraine. The Kremlin urges direct consultations with the United States on the interrelationship and the limitation of NATO activities in the region.

In recent times, tension between Russia and the West has risen high. There is a fear of Russian military action in Ukraine. The Russians deny that, but as a condition for relaxation in the region, NATO guarantees that Ukraine and other countries that used to belong to the Soviet Union, such as Georgia, will never be able to join the alliance.

No troops to Eastern Europe

The Russians have drawn up a package of demands that, among other things, that NATO does not send troops to areas where they were not present in 1997, before the start of NATO expansion. This would mean that NATO would have to cease almost all military activities in Eastern Europe, because it was only in 1999 that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic entered the alliance. After that, the other Eastern European Member States followed.

In addition, the Kremlin wants American and Russian warships and aircraft to be banned from areas โ€œwhere they can take the other party under fireโ€.

Russia also wants all American nuclear weapons that are stationed outside the US to be removed.

Russian demands are unlikely to stand even a chance. Diplomats point out that countries themselves are about joining NATO. โ€œRussia is not a NATO member and has nothing to say about it,โ€ says the Polish Foreign Minister.

Conversations with the U.S.

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rjabkov states that Russia and the West need a fresh start with each other.

โ€œThe NATO and US line over the past few years is absolutely unacceptable and extremely dangerous,โ€ he said. โ€œWashington and its NATO allies must immediately stop regular hostile actions against our country, including unplanned exercises, and stop Ukraines military expansion.โ€ According to him, Russia can start conversations tomorrow.

The United States also says it wants to talk. โ€œBut the Russians know that these documents contain things that are unacceptable to us,โ€ says an official to Reuters news agency. Next week, the US would respond to the proposals.