The United States handed over to the Russian side a written response to Moscow’s proposals in the field of European security. Although it is assumed that the text of this document is not subject to publication, apparently, no fundamentally new theses were made by Washington. We talked about the prospects for relations between Russia and its “Western partners,” as it is customary to say in diplomatic circles, with Vladimir Frolov, an expert on international relations.
– What can happen now and in the short term in connection with the US response to Russia’s security proposals? Will Moscow raise rates and then return to the standard sluggish negotiations? Or, on the contrary, is there a possibility of reaching a meeting at the level of heads of state?
“Only President Vladimir Putin knows this. The reaction of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to the American and NATO written response leaves the head of state the opportunity to make a decision in one direction or another. As long as there is an imitation of dialogue, it provides time for thinking about next steps.
— What possible scenarios can be considered as real?
– The choice is simple: either be satisfied with “secondary negotiations”, which are not bad, but the main problem for Russia of “Ukraine’s withdrawal to the West” is not solved, and will continue for a long time, and with unpredictable results, and with new obligations of the Russian Federation not to place anything and limit on its territory … And then we need to think: do we need it?
The second option is to “break the pattern” and solve the main problem ourselves: preventing the emergence of a strong but hostile Ukraine, integrating, if not into NATO, then into bilateral military alliances. This, however, can only be achieved by regime change in Kiev. The Kremlin has such a choice.
– As for the timing of the response, as Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko recalled, saying about a month and a half of waiting for American papers, will Moscow demonstratively drag out the process already on its part?
– Dont clear. At the same time, there is already information that Minister Lavrov is allegedly going to meet again next week with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Geneva. So far, however, this has not been confirmed.
– And what could be the subject of these negotiations, if they take place? Given the unproductive recent meeting and the very modest expectations of both sides…
– Productive new negotiations between diplomats can only be made by Putin’s choice of the first of the above options for action. That is, secondary meetings without solving the problem of Ukraine. However, it seems to me that this is not the choice to be made. Then the meeting between Lavrov and Blinken will once again be a waste of time, just like the talks between the advisers of the Normandy Format states in Berlin in two weeks.
If the Kremlin gives the go-ahead to “small” negotiations, then Lavrov and his deputy Sergei Ryabkov will quickly arrange everything. If this scenario is rejected, they will have to play for time.
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