Leak: NATO, U.S. Responses to Moscow’s Security Demands

Spanish daily newspaper El País published today two documents that it claims are the confidential responses by the NATO and the U.S. to Moscow’s security demands, which included refusing further enlargement of the Alliance to former Soviet Republics, including Georgia and Ukraine.

The leak comes as both NATO and the U.S. formally reiterated with Russia their commitment to the Alliance’s Open Door Policy on January 26.

While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg went over the contents of the response in detail, U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken had largely left the specifics of the proposals confidential. None of the documents were officially released publicly.

U.S. Response

The supposed U.S. response says that while Washington is ready to engage with Russia in dialogue, it “continues to firmly support NATO’s Open Door Policy.”

The text also reminds Russia of the “mutually agreed concept of comprehensive, cooperative, equal and indivisible security as outlined in the 2010 OSCE Astana Summit Commemorative Declaration, where both the United States and Russia also reaffirmed the inherent right of each and every participating state to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance.”

In the context of military exercises, the document says the U.S., in consultation with NATO Allies and partners, is ready to explore an enhanced notification regime for drills and nuclear risk reduction measures.

But it highlights concerns that large Russian military exercises are on their part conducted “without prior notice or appropriate transparency.”

The text also expresses concerns about “Russia’s actions that have disrupted navigational rights and freedoms as well as international commerce in the Black and Azov Seas.” On its part, the U.S. says it is ready to discuss additional enhancements of the Incidents at Sea Agreement, to explore new measures for preventing incidents.

The document highlights U.S. concern over “Russia’s growing multi-domain military build-up, more assertive posture, novel military capabilities, and provocative activities, including near NATO Allies’ borders” among others.

In the context of Ukraine, it says that further Russian increases to force posture or further aggression will force the U.S. and NATO Allies to strengthen their own defensive posture.

Besides, the document offers to launch discussions on a transparency mechanism to confirm the absence of Tomahawk cruise missiles in Romania and Poland provided Russia offers reciprocal transparency measures on two ground-launched missile bases of U.S. choosing in Russia, and to begin talks for new follow-up measures to New Start Treaty.

NATO Response

The supposed NATO document stresses that Euro-Atlantic security could be enhanced by “all states respecting and adhering to the principles of sovereignty, inviolability of borders, and territorial integrity of states, and refraining from the threat and use of force.”

In this context, the text highlights that all states shall respect the right of other countries to choose or change their security arrangements and to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference.

“In this light, we reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s Open Door Policy under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty,” the text reads.

The response also notes that security situation can be improved by “Russia withdrawing forces from Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova where they are deployed without host-nation consent.” 

Besides, it highlights that all sides shall engage constructively in various conflict resolution formats such as the Normandy Format, the Trilateral Contact Group, the Geneva International Discussions and the 5+2 talks.

NATO also notes that Russia shall refrain from “coercive force posturing, aggressive nuclear rhetoric and malign activities directed against Allies and other countries.”

Noting that “NATO does not seek confrontation,” the document highlights that the Allies “cannot and will not compromise on the principles upon which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest.”

The text stresses that while the Alliance continues to aspire to a constructive relationship with Moscow, “the reversal of Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine will be essential for substantive progress.”

It also highlights that no other states have been offered a comparable relationship or institutional framework as Russia, yet Moscow “has broken the trust at the core of our cooperation and challenged the fundamental principles of the global Euro-Atlantic security architecture.”

“NATO remains firmly committed to the fundamental principles and agreements underpinning European Security,” the text reads, adding “we regret Russia’s breach of the very values, principles and commitments, which it helped develop and which underpin the NATO-Russia relationship.”

The document also lays out several proposals in the context of risk reduction, increasing transparency and arms control. 

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