Russia to unveil proposed security pact in bid to restrict NATO


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdullah Bou Habib (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool

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MOSCOW, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow would soon present proposals for a new European security pact which he hopes will prevent NATO from expanding further east.

Lavrov was speaking at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Stockholm ahead of talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken which are expected to focus on tensions around Ukraine.

Blinken, NATO and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly expressed concerns in recent weeks that Russia could soon launch another attack on Ukraine, an idea that Moscow has dismissed as alarmist.

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Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed pro-Russian separatists who seized parts of eastern Ukraine the same year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week complained about Western military aid to Ukraine and what he called NATO’s expansion closer to Russia’s borders. He warned NATO against installing missile defense systems in Ukraine. Read more

In a speech to the OSCE, Lavrov said Europe was returning to what he called the nightmare of military confrontation and said he hoped Russia’s proposals on a new European security pact would be carefully examined.

Putin has said he wants guarantees that NATO will stop its eastward expansion and not deploy certain weapons systems near Russia.

“The architecture of strategic stability is rapidly being destroyed, NATO refuses to constructively consider our proposals to defuse tensions and avoid dangerous incidents,” Lavrov told the OSCE.

“On the contrary, the alliance’s military infrastructure is moving closer to Russia’s borders. The nightmare scenario of military confrontation is back.”

Lavrov said Moscow could not accept new military threats appearing on its borders.

“Making our neighboring countries bridgeheads for confrontation with Russia and deploying NATO forces in close proximity to areas of strategic importance to our security is categorically unacceptable,” he said.

Lavrov told the OSCE that Western arms supplies to Ukraine encouraged kyiv to believe it could resolve its territorial issues by force. kyiv has denied having such plans.

Lavrov said Moscow was also concerned about US intermediate-range missiles appearing in Europe.

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Reporting from Moscow Buro; edited by Andrew Osborn

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