Expectations from the meeting in Brussels are disclosed
A meeting of the Russia-NATO Council has begun in Brussels at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance. The negotiations were based on the proposals of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which were formalized in the form of a draft agreement and officially presented on December 17 last year. The document expresses Moscow's ideas and vision on issues of interaction with the alliance, as well as stability and security on the European continent. The expert expressed expectations for the consultation.
The Russian delegation at the meeting of the Russia & ndash; NATO Council (NRC) was made up by an interdepartmental commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. The diplomatic service is represented by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.
During the dialogue, the parties gathered to discuss issues related to European security, risk reduction and arms control, as well as the refusal to further expand NATO at the expense of the former Soviet republics. As early as Thursday, January 13, consultations will be held at the Vienna platform of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
“ Russia insists in the draft agreement on security guarantees that NATO does not expand further to the East , – comments Nikolai Topornin, Associate Professor of the Department of European Law, MGIMO … – & nbsp; First of all, this means non-inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in the alliance. Further, it is proposed that NATO does not deploy any serious military contingents near the Russian borders and does not conduct full-scale military exercises that are far beyond the usual framework.
Moreover, the idea is expressed that the North Atlantic Alliance should return to the agreements that were reached in the 90s – even before its large-scale expansion at the expense of the countries of Eastern Europe took place. There are also minor issues related to transparency, the non-deployment of additional intermediate and shorter-range missiles, as well as the non-deployment of new NATO and US military bases. & Nbsp;
In this case, is it worth counting on the conclusion of at least minimal agreements? The fact is that the document of the Russian Federation has already been widely discussed not only in the United States, but also in the European Union. The EU said that agreements cannot be reached without the participation of leading European states. In principle, the Americans also insisted on this.
However, with regard to the issue of non-expansion of NATO, the main demand of Russia, here all as one in the West declared: no third party can dictate to the alliance who to accept and who not. It has a so-called “ open door policy '', which assumes that all states that agree with the NATO charter and fall under its criteria can become members of it in the future, by the decision of the participating countries. This is the main position, and on it I do not see even the smallest changes. '' & Nbsp; & nbsp;
According to the expert, Georgia and Ukraine at the moment are unlikely to count on the fact that they will be able to join NATO. However, this can happen in 10-20 years. In any case, Kiev is persistently moving towards this: it is carrying out appropriate reforms, interacting with the alliance, accepting its weapons and military concepts, and gradually rebuilding its army in an American-European manner. It can be assumed that in the near future Ukraine can succeed in this direction. Then the question of its acceptance will really arise.
“The position of the Russian leadership here is principled,” Nikolai Topornin continues. – & nbsp; Russia does not want to see Ukraine in the NATO camp. But, if you look, we have neighbors from among the former Soviet republics, the same Estonia and Latvia, which have long been members of the alliance, and Russia has not experienced any upheavals in this regard. She did not demand that these countries leave NATO. & Nbsp;
Although, frankly, from Narva (the most eastern part of Estonia) to St. Petersburg is less than 300 km. That is, for any missile this is a flight time of 3 to 5 minutes, which is much more dangerous than if, for example, some launchers were deployed in Ukraine.
This is an example of the fact that we are quite calm we can coexist with NATO countries and not experience any particular threat. We worked great with them in the 1990s and 2000s, conducted joint exercises and even made joint plans to integrate military forces for greater strategic stability in Europe. After 2014, the ships dispersed at sea, and the situation became extremely conflict. ''
The positions of the parties do not coincide here, the expert emphasized. Therefore, it will not be possible to reach agreements on NATO enlargement. However, there are more opportunities to achieve greater stability in terms of non-deployment of intermediate and shorter-range missiles.
“ At one time, the Americans torpedoed the INF Treaty, withdrew from it, but it is extremely necessary for both European countries and Russia, '' Nikolai Topornin noted. – & nbsp; I think that there is a ground for closer interaction. However, these issues can only be resolved if there is goodwill on both sides.
I see the potential for agreements. But this will require meticulous work at the level of experts, specialists from the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff, NATO structures, which will obviously take at least several months.
In any case, the NATO-Russia Council has not met since 2019 of the year. Previously, there were always contacts between the parties. Recently, our relationship has dropped to zero. We had to close the Russian representation to the alliance in Brussels, and the NATO information office suspended its work in Moscow.
Therefore, the current consultations revive the hope that a new communication channel will be established and the dialogue will become more constructive. I'm not sure any compromise will be found today. Rather, it will be an introductory meeting with more clarifying accents in their positions on issues of military-strategic stability in Europe. ''