Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov attend a news conference in Moscow, on February 18.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov attend a news conference in Moscow, on February 18. (Maxim Shemetov/Pool/Reuters)

NATO and the European Union are “not prepared” to fully uphold security guarantees, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday. 

“We discussed the state of things in the European continent, including issues around Russia’s initiative of guaranteed security — equal and undivided security — in accordance with the principles approved at the highest level, as part of the OSCE,” Lavrov told reporters following a meeting with his Greek counterpart in Moscow.

“Unfortunately, our partners in NATO and the European Union are not prepared to uphold this in full capacity, particularly with regards to demands on each party to avoid strengthening their own security at the expense of the security of any other country,” he added. 

A day earlier, Lavrov said Russia’s core security issues must be addressed first in any negotiations with the US and NATO, before other security issues can be resolved.  

“That is NATO’s non-expansion to the East; non-placement of strike weapons; and respect to the military and political configuration at the time of signing of the founding act between Russia and NATO,” Lavrov said. 

The Russian Foreign Minister also directed criticism at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission, which has monitored the situation in Donbas, saying the mission “at first acted objectively in Donbas but then started trying to disguise events” on the ground.  

“The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is trying to ‘smooth out’ the data that indicates the guilt of the Ukrainian military in violation of the ceasefire in Donbas,” Lavrov said, without offering further evidence. 

Some context: The security guarantees are demands put forward by Russia on Thursday to the US in response to written proposals the US submitted to Russia three weeks ago.

In an 11-page document published by state news agency RIA-Novosti on Thursday, Moscow said the US did not provide a constructive response to its security demands and that “the increasing US and NATO military activity close to Russian borders is alarming.”

“It’s about giving up the further expansion of NATO,” the response said.

The letter also said the US did not provide a response to their demands: “It’s about giving up the further expansion of NATO, about the withdrawal of the ‘Bucharest formula’, whereby ‘Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, and the refusal to create military bases on the territory of states formerly part of the USSR and non-members of the NATO alliance, including the use of their infrastructure to conduct any military activity, and the return of NATO military capabilities, including strike capabilities, and infrastructure to the 1997 status, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed. These stipulations are of fundamental importance to the Russian Federation.” 

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