After a week of diplomatic engagement with the US and NATO, Russia expects a written response to its security proposals by next week.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow won’t wait indefinitely for an answer and stressed the most important security issue for Russia is NATO’s expansion. “They must understand that the key to everything is the guarantee that NATO will not expand eastward,” Lavrov said.
Both the US and NATO have publicly rejected Russia’s demand for NATO not to expand eastward by absorbing Ukraine, and it’s unlikely that they will give Moscow the guarantees it is looking for. Although, back in December, reports said that the Biden administration conveyed to Ukraine that a NATO membership is unlikely to be approved within the next decade.
Lavrov warned that “if our proposals are rejected … we will make a decision on how to ensure our security in a reliable way.”
A day earlier, Lavrov’s deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Russia sending its military to Cuba or Venezuela if the US doesn’t provide security guarantees.
It’s unclear if either country would even welcome a Russian troop deployment, and the US dismissed the warning as “bluster.” But the comments highlight the fact that any Russian deployments near the US would be viewed as a major provocation while US deployments near Russia are the norm.