Russia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement Friday calling for NATO to rescind a promise it made in 2008 to eventually admit Ukraine and Georgia, two states that border Russia.
“In the fundamental interests of European security, it is necessary to formally disavow the decision of the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit that ‘Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members,'” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The request is part of some security guarantees Russia seeks from the US and NATO amid heightened tensions over Ukraine. The Russians also want to establish a security dialogue to avoid near-misses between military planes and warships. The US and NATO have stepped up their activity in the Black Sea, and Western warplanes now have frequent encounters with Russian aircraft.
On Thursday, sources told The Associated Press that the Biden administration has told Ukraine that a NATO membership is unlikely to be approved within the next decade, a sign that the US does not want to escalate the situation further. A Ukrainian NATO membership has long been a red line for Russia.
In October, before the latest tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Ukraine and Georgia and signaled that the door is still open for the two nations to join NATO. “No third country has a veto over NATO’s membership decisions,” Austin said in Kyiv.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Friday warned Western powers against not giving Russia some security guarantees. “If our opponents on the other side … refuse, try to torpedo the whole thing, they will inevitably encounter a further worsening of their own security situation,” he said.
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed tensions in the region in a virtual summit on Tuesday. After the meeting, Putin said Russia will continue dialogue with the US and soon send proposals for security guarantees.