USA-Russia: NATO Will Not Return to the 1997 Configuration

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Washington has given Russia written answers to its demands for security guarantees US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that the US rejected Moscow’s main demand for the return of NATO to the 1997 configuration so that Russia would feel safer. “No, you can’t tell us to turn the time back to 1997, and that all the countries that joined NATO after that to withdraw,” Sherman said. “That’s not going to happen.” “I made it absolutely clear to the Russian side: you will not make decisions on membership in NATO,” the senior American diplomat continued, speaking at the virtual forum on European security. “It's not up to you, but up to NATO members to decide. And you will not decide to withdraw all offensive weapons from Europe.” At the same time, she noted that if Russia wants to discuss real mutual security issues, such as arms control, conflict prevention, transparency – the United States is ready for it. “There are many ways to ensure mutual security, without ultimatums, threats to Ukraine, coercion, subversion or invasions,” the Deputy Secretary of State said. Sherman said that NATO does not pose a threat to Russia, as it is a defensive alliance created to defend and protect Europe. “It cannot be that Russia, with its largest conventional armed forces in Europe, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has vast territories with colossal energy resources, is one of the two largest nuclear powers in the world, could be threatened by Ukraine, a smaller and still developing country,” she stressed. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, said that the United States had given Russia written answers to its demands for security guarantees as part of negotiations to prevent military escalation against Ukraine. According to Blinken, the response provides for a diplomatic way forward in case Russia is ready to follow this path, and contains a principled and pragmatic assessment of the concerns expressed by the Russian side. In addition, the document outlines the concerns expressed by the United States and its allies. According to the head of American diplomacy, the document mentions the possibility of taking mutual measures to ensure transparency regarding the alignment of forces in Ukraine. He noted the positive things in the document to be paid attention to. Blinken stressed that the US is open to dialogue and prefers a diplomatic approach. Голос Америки