Russia to challenge NATO on security pledge

Russia has forced
the US-led defence alliance and the 57-member Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe to negotiate over regional security by massing around
100,000 troops near Ukraine while denying it plans to invade.

President Putin said on Friday the United States and NATO had not addressed
Moscow’s main security demands in their standoff over Ukraine but that it was
ready to keep talking.

through the Foreign Ministry, we are sending an official request to our
colleagues in the Alliance and the OSCE, urging them to explain how they intend
to implement (their) commitment not to strengthen their security at the expense
of the security of others,” Lavrov said on state television.

they do not intend to do so, then they should explain why. This will be a key
question in determining our future proposals, which we will report to the
Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Lavrov said.

Russia will
seek from the West not just promises, but legally binding security guarantees,
“that would ensure security on the entire European continent, with full,
equal regard to Russia’s legitimate interests”, Lavrov said.

Russia has
demanded NATO pull back troops and weapons from eastern Europe and bar its
neighbour Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from ever joining. Washington and its
NATO allies reject that position but say they are ready to discuss other topics
such as arms control and confidence-building measures.

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