Washington and its NATO allies have offered arms control and confidence-building measures to Moscow to defuse the threat of a new Russian offensive against Ukraine, according to documents published by El Pais on Wednesday.
The proposals, set out in letters by NATO and the United States last month in response to Russian demands, stand firm in insisting that Ukraine and any other sovereign country have the right to apply to join the alliance.
But the reported US response – published on the Spanish daily’s website – suggests “reciprocal commitments by the United States and Russia to refrain from deploying offensive ground-launched missile systems and standing forces with a combat mission on the territory of Ukraine”.
US and NATO documents urge Russia to restore diplomatic relations with the alliance and to renew and renegotiate nuclear missile control treaties with the United States.
Moscow is invited to resume contact with the NATO-Russia Council, a diplomatic body “offering dialogue and partnership instead of conflict and mistrust”.
A NATO official declined to confirm the text, saying, “We never comment on alleged leaks.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was aware of the report, but added: “We haven’t published anything, and I don’t want to comment on it.”
But later, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the El Pais report accurately described the US position.
“I have seen nothing to suggest that these documents are not authentic,” he said, while insisting that Washington did not release them.
Huge Russian Force
President Vladimir Putin’s government has deployed a huge force – more than 100,000 troops – in its territory near the Ukrainian border and in Crimea, a Ukrainian region that Russia annexed in 2014.
The Kremlin has demanded that NATO ensure that Kiev is never allowed to join NATO and that the alliance withdraw its forces from eastern member states that were allies or Soviet republics during the Cold War.
Western allies have rejected calls to slam NATO’s door, but the leaked letters call for “meaningful arms control discussions and dialogue with Russia on mutual transparency and confidence-building measures”.
“No other partner has been offered a comparable relationship or a similar institutional framework,” the allies said of the NATO-Russia council, in the letter published by El Pais.
“Yet Russia has broken the trust that is at the heart of our cooperation and has called into question the fundamental principles of the global and Euro-Atlantic security architecture,” the statement said.
The US document stresses: “We are prepared to consider arrangements or agreements with Russia on matters of bilateral interest, to include written and signed instruments, to address our respective security concerns.”
It suggests renewing the US-Russian strategic stability dialogue on arms control agreements to “limit intermediate and shorter range land-based missiles and their launchers”.
But he repeats Washington’s warning that Russia has already breached the now-suspended 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, from which the United States withdrew in 2019, accusing Moscow of deploying a banned type of missile. .
And he warns: “Further Russian increases in the force position or further aggression against Ukraine will force the United States and our allies to strengthen their defensive posture.”
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