Russia Lays Out Demands for a Sweeping New Security Deal With NATO
KYIV, Ukraine — Russia outlined on Friday its demands for a sweeping new security arrangement with the West in Eastern Europe, with the most far-reaching request a written guarantee that NATO will not expand farther east toward Russia.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergey A. Ryabkov, offered new details about the demands in public for the first time on Friday in a video news conference in Moscow, amid a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine’s border, raising alarms from security analysts who said the requests seemed all but impossible to accommodate.
The demands went far beyond the current conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. And most were directed not at Ukraine, which is threatened by the troop buildup, but at the United States and Ukraine’s other Western allies.
They included a request for a NATO commitment that it would not offer membership to Ukraine. The Russians also want the alliance to halt military activity in the Caucasus and Central Asia and they demanded that NATO remove all military infrastructure installed in Eastern Europe after 1997.
The proposal highlighted starkly differing views in the United States and Russia on the military tensions over Ukraine. Russia has insisted that the West has been fomenting the crisis by instilling anti-Russia sentiment in Ukraine, and providing weapons. The Foreign Ministry said this month that the confrontation had become a critical threat to Russia’s security.
The United States and European allies, in contrast, say Russia provoked the security crisis by recently deploying tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia voiced some of the demands more broadly in recent weeks. But this formal Russian offer on Friday for defusing the tensions on Ukraine’s border followed a video call between President Biden and Mr. Putin on Dec. 7. After the call, Mr. Biden said he was willing to hear the Russians out.
Russian officials said diplomats conveyed the proposal to a senior American diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Karen Donfried, during meetings in Moscow on Wednesday.