MOSCOW, 24 Dec 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.
On December 17, 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation published on its website the Agreement on Security Measures of the Russian Federation and the Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Security Guarantees. We are talking, of course, about draft documents that are the subject of a proposal to be discussed during negotiations of the appropriate formats.
The instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to focus diplomatic efforts in this direction was announced during an expanded meeting of the Board of the Russian Foreign Ministry on November 18, 2021:
“It is absolutely necessary to already raise the question, Sergey Viktorovich, it is necessary to raise the question of seeking to provide Russia with serious long-term guarantees to ensure our security in this area, because Russia cannot exist like this and constantly think about what might happen there tomorrow.”
However, the preparation of the texts of the above documents became possible only following the results of negotiations via video link between the Presidents of Russia and the United States on December 7, 2021. In response to Joe Biden’s concern about the allegedly “threatening” nature of the movements of Russian troops near the Ukrainian borders, Vladimir Putin noted that responsibility should not be shifted to Russia, because it is precisely NATO that is making dangerous attempts to develop Ukrainian territory and is building up military potential near the Russian borders.
The President of our country also expressed serious interest in obtaining reliable, legally fixed guarantees that exclude the expansion of NATO in the eastern direction and the deployment of strike offensive weapons systems in neighbouring states with Russia. Then the leaders of the United States and Russia agreed to instruct their representatives to enter into substantive consultations on these sensitive issues.
In order for the consultations to be effective and end with the signing of the relevant documents, the Russian Foreign Ministry prepared draft agreements on security measures with NATO and a Security Guarantee Treaty with the United States.
Let’s look at the main theses of these documents. Here are some of the most important quotes from the Agreement on Security Measures of the Russian Federation and the Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation:
Article 4: “The Russian Federation and all Participants who were Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as of May 27, 1997, respectively, do not deploy their armed forces and weapons on the territory of all other European States in addition to the forces stationed on this territory as of May 27, 1997.”
Article 5: “Participants exclude the deployment of medium- and shorter-range ground-based missiles in areas from which they are capable of hitting targets on the territory of other Participants.”
Article 6: “The Participants, who are Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, accept obligations that exclude further expansion of NATO, including the accession of Ukraine, as well as other states.”
Article 7: “The Participants, who are Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, refuse to conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine, as well as other states of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.”
The text of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Security Guarantees contains the following very important points:
Article 4: “The United States of America undertakes to exclude further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the eastern direction, to refuse admission to the alliance of states that were previously members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The United States of America will not establish military bases on the territory of states that were previously members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, use their infrastructure for conducting any military activity, as well as develop bilateral military cooperation with them.”
Article 5: “The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and weapons, including within the framework of international organisations, military alliances or coalitions, in areas where such deployment would be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties.
The Parties refrain from flying heavy bombers equipped for nuclear or non-nuclear weapons, and presence of surface warships of all classes, including within the framework of alliances, coalitions and organisations, in areas, respectively, which are outside national airspace and outside national territorial waters, from where they can hit targets on the territory of the other Party.”
Article 6: “The Parties undertake not to deploy medium- and shorter-range ground-based missiles outside the national territory, as well as in those areas of their national territory from which such weapons are capable of hitting targets on the national territory of the other Party.”
Article 7: “The Parties exclude the deployment of nuclear weapons outside the national territory and return such weapons already deployed outside the national territory at the time of entry into force of this Treaty to the national territory. The parties will eliminate all available infrastructure for the deployment of nuclear weapons outside the national territory.
Obviously, the main thing is a guarantee agreement with the United States. And the signing of this agreement is primary. Such an approach is dictated by life itself and the balance of power in the world. Strategic nuclear parity is maintained between the United States and Russia. It is precisely the United States that is the real leader of NATO by virtue of its military, political and economic potential. Recently, such a term has even appeared that NATO is “USA +”.
If Russia will succeed in reaching an agreement with the United States, then the Agreement on Security Measures with NATO will be signed automatically. If problems will arise with the signing of the Agreement, it will only indicate Washington’s unwillingness to conclude this security deal.
It should be noted that Russia has set very strict and clear conditions in the documents. However, it is not necessary to look at them only from the position of our country, because Russia assumes the same obligations. That is, both sides benefit from this deal in terms of security and the exclusion of a large-scale armed conflict: both Russia and the United States with their allies.
It’s fair if both sides recognise each other’s right to equal security. Whereas if to refer to the second party (Russia) as an unequal partner and try to solve the issues of its own (US and NATO) security at Russia’s expense, then it’s time to call the above documents Russia’s ultimatum. This is what some officials in the West have hurried to do.
Thus, Russia’s main task at the first stage of working with these documents is to secure the status of an equal partner in the eyes of the United States and its NATO allies. Most likely, it will be difficult to do this at the first iteration, but at the second iteration, after Russia’s preparatory or real actions to create military and other threats primarily to the United States, the contractual capacity of Western partners should increase.
Of course, the question arises: and what will Russia do if, after all, insurmountable difficulties arise with the signing of these documents? In order to see the list of potential Russian measures to compensate for threats to our national security, it is enough to look at the text of the Security Guarantees Agreement with the United States and just remove the verbs “abstain”, “commit” and “exclude”.
As Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, said the other day: “Everyone understands everything perfectly well, the moment of truth is coming in relations between Russia and NATO. One can not constantly step on the sore points of Russia, one needs to make a decision. The conversation should be serious, and everyone in NATO understands this perfectly well, despite all the strength and power, that it is necessary to take concrete political actions, otherwise the alternative is Russia’s military-technical and military responses.”
Thus, as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Grushko put it on December 20, 2021: “Our proposals are very clear. The time of half-tints and taking them on trust have passed.”
The catch phrase formed in 1941-1942 during the defence of Moscow in the Great Patriotic War “Russia is a vast land, yet there is nowhere to retreat – Moscow is behind us!” with the approach of NATO’s military infrastructure to the borders of Russia and the corresponding decrease in the flying time of enemy missiles, becomes relevant at the current time.