Moscow, Jan 26 (EFE).- Russia said Wednesday it would not allow Western allies to ‘downplay’ the Kremlin’s demands as tensions continue to escalate on the country’s border with Ukraine.
“There is a distinct trend towards downplaying our proposals and brushing them under the carpet in endless discussions,” foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at an appearance in the State Duma.
“We will not let this happen. We will not let them emasculate our initiative,” he added.
Lavrov denounced that the West was increasing political and military pressure on Russia in a bid to contain the country.
“Just look at the increasingly provocative manoeuvers along our borders, the pulling of the Kiev regime into NATO’s orbit, the arms supplies, and how they goad it into direct provocations against the Russian Federation,” the FM added.
He warned that Russia would take the “necessary response measures” if it does not receive a “constructive response” from the West to its security demands, including that NATO will not expand eastwards.
Russia wants Ukraine and other former Soviet-nations to be blocked from joining the defense alliance and has demanded the immediate cessation of NATO troops deployed along its border.
Lavrov insisted that Moscow would not allow the debate on security guarantees to go on indefinitely and added that the Kremlin expected a written response.
“Depending on the content of that response, which is expected this week, together with our colleagues from other institutions, we are going to prepare proposals for the president (Vladimir Putin).”
The military showdown on Ukraine’s border, which has seen a build-up of some 100,000 Russian troops in recent weeks, prompted French and German leaders to resume the Normandy Format talks in a bid to avoid war in eastern Ukraine.
Russian, Ukrainian, French and German officials are expected to gather for low-level talks on Wednesday to try and unblock the peace process for Donbas, where the Ukrainian Army and pro-Russian separatists have been clashing since 2014.
“I hope there will be a good, open dialogue, with the maximum degree of efficiency possible,” a spokesman for the Russian Presidency Dmitri Peskov said at a press conference.
“What ‘maximum possible degree’ means is very difficult to say now,” he added.
The last face-to-face meeting of the Normandy Format took place on January 12, 2021, in Berlin. EFE