The security guarantees that Russia seeks from the West include provisions requiring NATO forces to leave Romania and Bulgaria, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday, Reuters reports.
Moscow has asked for legally binding guarantees from NATO that the bloc will halt its expansion and return to its 1997 borders.
Retorting to a question about what that would mean for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined NATO after 1997, the ministry said Russia wanted all foreign troops, weapons and other military hardware withdrawn from those countries.
Russia’s security proposals will be discussed again with the United States on Friday in Geneva, where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
However, a potential withdrawal of troops from Romania and Bulgaria was strongly rejected by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, who stated that he did not consider this option, moreover, the US President said that the military presence in Romania and Poland , if Russia attacks Ukraine.
Asked if he was considering withdrawing US troops from NATO’s eastern flank, President Biden made it clear that “there is no room for that.”
“It simply came to our notice then. In fact, we will increase our military presence in Poland, Romania and other countries if Russia decides to invade Ukraine. Because we have a sacred commitment to defend these countries, according to Article 5. They are part of NATO, “said the US President.
NATO’s Geoana: Russia’s guarantee demands “unacceptable”
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana rejected any claim by Russia, calling Moscow’s speech “anachronistic.” In fact, the so-called security guarantees demanded by Moscow since the beginning of the crisis have been rejected by the USA and NATO as “unacceptable”.
“It is NATO’s job where and in what configuration we place our military presence in the member countries. This is not the problem of the Russian Federation. (…) The idea that you can threaten an independent and sovereign state is anachronistic and a return to history“, Geoana told Digi24.
In its turn, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the Russian MFA’s statements as “inopportune” and “unsubstantiated”.
“The MFA recalls that NATO’s presence in the allied states, which is the result of decisions taken at the highest level by allied leaders and implemented by the responsible political and military structures responsible for this, is a strictly defensive reaction to the increasingly aggressive behavior of the Russian Federation. The Eastern Neighborhood, especially since 2014, when the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was illegally occupied by Russia. This behavior continues to intensify today, despite NATO’s attempts to engage in constructive dialogue.
The call for NATO forces in all Alliance states that joined after 1997, including troops, to be reduced according to Moscow’s requirements is already in Russia’s European security proposals, made public in December 2021. This request has already been unequivocally rejected as unacceptable by the North Atlantic Alliance both publicly and in the NATO dialogue with Russia and the US-Russia, respectively. Such a request is inadmissible and cannot be negotiated, given that the position of deterrence and defense is directly connected with, and is an intrinsic part of, NATO’s collective defense mechanism, over which no third country can be entitled. veto. The Allies have strongly stated that they will continue their policy of strengthening security and collective defense, including through the presence of Allied troops in the territory of the Eastern Allies,” says the Romanian MFA in a press release.
CSAT summoned on Jan.26
Meanwhile in Bucharest President Klaus Iohannis is meeting with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca on Friday to discuss the security situation on the Eastern Flank, according to the Presidential Administration.
The talks are taking place in the context of growing tensions over a possible invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops and after the announcement made by the US and French allies regarding an additional NATO troops on Romanian territory.
After the meeting, Presidential Administration announced that President Iohannis had summoned Romania’s Council for National Defence (CSAT) for January 26, starting 13:00hrs, to tackle such topics as “the security situation in the Black Sea Extended Region and on NATO Eastern Flank, as well as measures on developing response capacities to the new security challenges and increasing resilience”.