Polina Dukhanova, Alena Medvedeva
The US and NATO are ready for new negotiations with Russia. This position was agreed upon during telephone conversations by United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg. According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, the US and NATO are “committed to continuing diplomatic engagement and reciprocal dialogue.” At the same time, according to the American media, the White House is considering the possibility of organizing military training of Ukrainian volunteers in nearby countries that are members of NATO. Experts believe that the West needs new negotiations with Moscow in order to shift the focus of discussions to topics of interest to it. However, the Russian Federation is unlikely to follow the lead of its opponents, analysts believe.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed by telephone the next steps to engage with Moscow following the Russia-NATO Council meeting on January 12. The parties came to the conclusion that they are ready to continue negotiations with the Russian Federation, said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“The United States and NATO are ready to meet again with Russia and are committed to continuing diplomatic engagement and bilateral dialogue,” he said in a written statement on the US Foreign Office website.
The document also emphasizes that Washington and its NATO allies are calling on Moscow to take immediate action to de-escalate the alleged “ongoing aggression against Ukraine.”
However, in Russia the intentions of the US and NATO are skeptical. According to Andrey Klimov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, head of the Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty, such a move may be aimed at delaying discussions of Russian security initiatives.
“The feeling does not leave that this is perhaps a way to chat up the entire negotiation story … It is necessary to clarify whether this is an attempt to drag out the process or an attempt to move into a constructive one,” the senator said in an interview with RT.
Meanwhile, US media reported that the White House is considering the possibility of an insurgency in Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion of the country.
And according to The New York Times, the American authorities intend to provide support to the participants of such formations. Moreover, they have relevant experience: at one time, the United States provided all kinds of assistance to the Afghan Mujahideen in the fight against Soviet troops.
“Administration officials … have said that plans to assist the Ukrainian rebels may include training in nearby countries on NATO’s eastern flank: Poland, Romania and Slovakia, which could enable the rebels to enter and leave Ukraine undetected. ,” the publication reported.
In addition to logistical support, the newspaper believes the United States and its NATO allies can provide the movement with medical equipment and assistance, as well as shelter.
“According to officials, the United States will almost certainly supply weapons,” the NYT added.
However, the newspaper notes that the formation of such an insurgent campaign is not guaranteed, since it is not known whether the Ukrainians will want to participate in it, realizing that it could drag on for years.
But one NYT source claims that in western Ukraine, some citizens have begun to join the territorial defense forces, where they are trained in guerrilla tactics.
However, the newspaper’s sources admit that supporting the insurgency is not an easy task, as it requires “development of a long-term mindset and maintaining the morale of the fighters in the face of a state-sanctioned enemy relying on heavy weapons.”
Despite these difficulties, the US is trying to prepare a platform for further pressure on Russia, experts say.
After all, as Vladimir Batyuk, chief researcher at the Institute for the USA and Canada, noted, Ukraine is interesting to Washington precisely because of its proximity to various vital centers of the Russian Federation. And the United States intends to use this factor to create all sorts of threats to Moscow.
“Washington believes that this will make it possible to obtain some unilateral concessions from the Russian Federation on conditions that are not very favorable for Russia. Moreover, Ukraine’s membership in NATO is not as important as the level of real military-technical cooperation with it. In the end, Afghanistan was also not a member of NATO, but nevertheless, American troops were deployed on its territory for two decades, ”Batyuk explained in an interview with RT.
“There must be a concrete result”
Meanwhile, the American expert community is already talking about the hypocrisy of the foreign policy of the United States authorities. Thus, NYT political observer Peter Beinart drew attention to the fact that US officials declare the inadmissibility of a return to the principle of “spheres of influence” and at the same time adhere to it, imposing their vision on other countries. Thus, they still consider the principle formulated by the fifth US President James Monroe to be relevant today. According to him, the United States “should consider any attempt” by foreign powers “to extend its system to any part of this hemisphere as representing a danger to our peace and security.”
The US should accept Russia’s demand not to regard Ukraine as a promising NATO member, the analyst believes.
“This is much better than a full-scale Russian invasion, which will demonstrate how committed America really is to Ukraine and turn the entire country into a battlefield,” Beinart said.
However, according to analysts interviewed by RT, Russia is already tired of putting up with American willfulness, in connection with which proposals for security guarantees were put forward.
At the last talks, Moscow counted on specifics from its opponents. But, as stated by the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, no agreements in principle could be reached. At the same time, he stressed that Moscow agrees to continue negotiations if its counterparties are ready to work according to the requirements put forward by the Russian Federation.
“I have no doubt that there will be no shortage of political will to continue negotiations further. But with one understanding: on these fundamental issues there can be no process for the sake of the process. There must be a concrete result, a concrete answer,” Peskov said at a briefing on January 13.
At the same time, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov assessed the prospect of resuming negotiations between the parties more harshly.
“I see no reason to sit down in the coming days (at the negotiating table. – RT ), gather again and start these same discussions. By and large, we need a reaction from that side not in the form of just comments and oral statements … but, let’s say, some texts, some comments put on paper, ”Ryabkov said.
After all, according to him, so far the United States and its allies are ready to discuss only those issues that are of interest to them.
Prospects for Consensus
Experts believe that the United States and NATO, having declared their readiness for a new round of negotiations, thereby demonstrate their unwillingness to discuss precisely those topics that concern Russia. After all, she demanded that her opponents submit their answer in writing, since negotiations for the sake of negotiations do not suit her.
“The line that the US and NATO are going to follow is clear. In their opinion, anything can be the subject of negotiations, except for the non-expansion of NATO to the east. Therefore, in the short term, Russia’s opponents will insist on discussing various measures in the field of nuclear deterrence. However, everything related to ensuring military security in Eastern Europe – a topic that Russia has repeatedly raised in negotiations with NATO, the United States and the OSCE – will be rebuffed, ”said Pavel Feldman, deputy director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, in an interview with RT.
Vladimir Batyuk also agrees with him, who believes that one should not expect reciprocal steps from NATO and the United States on the issue of limiting NATO expansion.
“Therefore, a narrow statement about the readiness of Russian counterparties to engage in dialogue will not suit Moscow. After all, a written response to her proposals is important to her, ”the analyst explained.
At the same time, Pavel Feldman believes that the United States, having entered into negotiations with Russia on security guarantees, thereby recognized that it must be reckoned with.
“It has dawned on the Americans that Moscow is not inferior to them in terms of its military-political potential and deserves Washington to enter into a negotiation process with it simply because the United States is interested in ensuring its own national security. And she, according to the White House, is already in question in the light of the active modernization of Russian weapons,” the expert said.
In this regard, he suggested that Russia is unlikely to block initiatives to continue negotiations, but will accept them on its own terms.
“I think that Russia will agree to the next round of negotiations simply because it has always demonstrated openness to dialogue with Western partners, and if this window of opportunity for resolving such important issues has opened, then it would be strange to slam it shut unilaterally. However, Moscow will not retreat from its demands,” Feldman is sure.