Russian demands to stop military response over Ukraine ‘unacceptable’

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Russian demands
Russian truck-mounted rocket launchers during military drills near Orenburg. Photograph: Russian Defence Ministry Press Service

Russia has put forward a list of security guarantees that it wants the west to agree to in order to lower the tensions across Europe and defuse the crisis over the Ukrainian border. Many of the Russian demands on the list have already been ruled out previously and security experts across the world have deemed the requests unacceptable.

The eight-point draft treaty was released by Russia’s foreign ministry after months of escalation and as more troops gathered within striking distance of Ukraine’s border. Moscow has said if its interests are ignored, then it would lead to a “military response” similar to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, reports the Guardian.

Vladimir Putin has demanded that Russia receives “legal guarantees” of its security from the west, but the proposals are being seen as an attempt to formalise a new sphere of influence over eastern Europe. One of the Russian demands wants a limit to the deployment of troops and weapons to Nato’s eastern flank, in effect returning them to where they were stationed in 1997. This was before countries such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania entered the alliance.

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Russia has also demanded that Nato rule out further expansion, including the accession of Ukraine into the alliance, and that it does not hold drills without previous agreement from Russia in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, in Caucasus countries such as Georgia or in Central Asia. Nato countries have warned that this document is proof that Moscow is seeking to limit their sovereignty.

The Nato head, Jens Stoltenberg, has already ruled out any agreements denying Ukraine the right to enter the military alliance, saying it is up to Ukraine and the 30 Nato countries. There are already major obstacles to Ukraine entering the alliance, including its territorial dispute with Russia over annexed Crimea.

When the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, was asked if he thought the Russian demands were unreasonable, he said no. “This is not about us giving some kind of ultimatum, there is none. The thing is that the seriousness of our warning should not be underestimated,” he said.



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