Will NATO meet Russia’s security demands? | NATO News

Brussels, Belgium – Foreign policy experts have been waiting expectantly over the past week as U.S. and NATO officials met with their Russian counterparts to discuss how to avoid a crisis in Ukraine.

Three high-stakes conferences known as geopolitically critical take place in European cities, following last month’s talks Between US President Joe Biden and his Russian President Vladimir Putin.

on Wednesday NATO-Russia Council MeetingAt a meeting in Brussels more than two years later, officials spoke of the importance of dialogue for disarmament and missile deployment.

But at a news conference, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: “There are significant differences between the NATO allies and Russia on these issues. Our differences are not easy to bridge.”

Despite massing troops on its border with Ukraine, Moscow has rejected accusations by Kiev and Western powers that it planned an invasion.The Kremlin has instead accused NATO of undermining security in the region and has sent Wish List of Security Needs To Washington — most of which have been slammed as “non-starters.”

Ukraine map

First, Russia wants NATO and its allies to bar Ukraine and former Soviet states from joining the alliance.

It also called on NATO to scale back its activities in Eastern Europe.

Fabrice Pothier, strategy officer at the policy group Rasmussen Global, with its founder and former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen Named, he said negotiations with the Kremlin had been challenging for the alliance.

“It is very difficult for NATO to do anything that does not protect its own interests and values, obviously starting with the territorial integrity of the allies,” he told Al Jazeera.

“NATO can compromise on transparency, the way allies inform each other of military exercises, and the deployment of certain sensitive weapons systems at the border. But beyond that, NATO will never budge.”

The Western-led diplomatic effort picked up pace late last year after the discovery of some 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

As well as a NATO event in Brussels, US and Russian officials Crisis discussed on Monday A week of meetings in Geneva ended in Vienna, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security agency.

After the NATO-Russia Council meeting, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman bemoaned “no commitment to any de-escalation”.

She added that Russia may not be ready how to proceed.

But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Glushko said Moscow had made it clear to NATO members that the situation had become “intolerable for Russia”.

At a news conference in Brussels, Glushko condemned NATO’s expansion in Eastern European countries.

“The expansion doesn’t solve the security problem. The expansion just moves the dividing lines, not removes them,” he said.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also took a tough tone, saying he has run out of patience and that NATO and the United States should respond to its demands within days.

Oleg Ignatov, a senior Russia analyst at the International Crisis Group, said Washington and the West could not reach a consensus with Russia because they did not understand the logic behind the Russian proposal.

“Russia doesn’t want to see Ukraine as a neutral country, but more like a friendly country,” he told Al Jazeera, adding that Ukraine was not the Kremlin’s only important issue

“It’s also about how Russia wants to position itself in the world. So it’s a geopolitical conflict centered around Russia’s posture and vision,” he added.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and OSCE President open Thursday’s meeting in Austria Say The risk of war in the OSCE region is now greater than at any time in the past 30 years.

“I don’t think there will be any concrete results this week,” Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the OSCE, told Russian TV channel Dozhd. “Our main goal, in principle, is to establish dialogue.”

With no breakthrough solution this week, Mikola Bereskov, an analyst at Ukraine’s National Institute of Strategic Studies, said NATO and Western support would be key to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty.

“If we only think about Ukraine and Russia, of course, Russia is stronger. But with the support of NATO, our Western allies and our own efforts, we have been able to chart a path to deterrence and recovery,” he told Al Jazeera.

But while NATO expanded its presence in Ukraine and other Eastern and Central European countries after the Cold War, the threat today is different, explained Ivana Stradner, a researcher who studies Russia and cybersecurity at the American Enterprise Institute.

“Russia has been waging advanced hybrid warfare in Ukraine, and Moscow has launched a disinformation campaign across Europe,” she told Al Jazeera.

“NATO’s strength should be measured by how successful it is against Russia in the grey area. Hybrid war deterrence is not an easy task, but NATO should deploy its anti-hybrid support group in Eastern Europe.”

Interactive - NATO, OSCE, EU Membership Venn Diagram

While the crisis is on European soil, some EU diplomats say they are being sidelined when major decisions are made on Ukraine.

“There is no security in Europe without Ukraine’s security. It is clear that any discussion of European security must involve the EU and Ukraine,” the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Jose Puborrell, told reporters after a visit to the Ukrainian front in early January .

Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, a member of the European Parliament, said the weak presence of the EU in the negotiations was not surprising.

“The problem with the EU is not that it is actively taking a back seat, it is that we still do not have a coherent foreign policy towards Russia. Some EU countries have chosen to remain neutral towards Russia. This has led to a delay on our side to issue a statement, which I regret, ‘ she told Al Jazeera.

Going forward, Ignatov said people in the front-line areas are still at risk.

“People along the border don’t think about geopolitics. Ending the war is their priority. Unfortunately, they don’t have a voice at the diplomatic table. Their interests need to be served immediately,” he told Al Jazeera.

Stradner added that while the EU, US and NATO were keen to continue their dialogue with Russia, “Western leaders often show tough rhetoric but weak action. ‘Talking to All Problems’ has never worked in Russia. , it doesn’t work now.”