Russia Demands NATO to Cancel Its Decision That Ukraine, Georgia Can Someday Join Alliance
Earlier, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia sees NATO's expansion to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova as a matter of life and death.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia is demanding that NATO cancel its decision to accept Ukraine and Georgia as potential candidates for membership in the alliance.
Ryabkov added that Russia needs to put an end to NATO's expansion and prevent Ukraine from becoming a member of the alliance.
"We must put an end to the advancement of NATO, NATO infrastructure, and NATO capabilities further east. We must exclude Ukraine from joining NATO," he said.
"We're saying absolutely firmly that we demand an official withdrawal of the decision of the Bucharest summit. From 2008, that Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members," Sergey Ryabkov said.
"We're saying that further expansion of NATO should be ruled out in principle," the diplomat added.
According to him, all the activities of the alliance "must be rolled back to the positions that existed at the time of the signing of the Russia-NATO fundamental act".
Moscow's goal is to agree on security guarantees with the United States and NATO based on Russian proposals, Ryabkov has said.
"We can no longer postpone, let's deal with this serious issue ... here and now," Ryabkov said in an interview with the Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn magazine, published on Monday.
The diplomat also said that Moscow still awaits for Washington's response on when they are ready for bilateral talks.
On 26 December, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that was ready to organise a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council on 12 January.
In turn, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that Russia is considering the NATO proposal to hold the Russia-NATO council on 12 January, but many issues, including the composition of delegations are left to be resolved, as currently there are no Russian representatives in Brussels.
On 17 December, Russia released draft security proposals that it wants to sign with the US and other NATO countries. The proposals include mutual security guarantees in Europe, non-deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles within reach to each other's territory, and NATO's non-expansion eastward onto former Soviet republics surrounding Russia.
Tensions around Ukraine have been aggravated over the past several weeks by an alleged Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, pointing to NATO's military activity near Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own territory.
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