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Russia needs ironclad security guarantees, says Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN

UNITED NATIONS, 19 February. /TASS/. Only strong legal guarantees will suit Russia to conclude European security agreements, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Saturday.

“Only ironclad legally binding safeguards this time,” Polyansky tweeted.

The diplomat attached to his message a reference to an article in Der Spiegel magazine confirming that Western countries had indeed promised the leaders of the Soviet Union in 1991 not to expand NATO to the east. The story was written on the basis of archival documents discovered by American political scientist Joshua Shifrinson of Boston University.

In part, Der Spiegel cites a document regarding a meeting of US, British, French and German foreign ministers in Bonn on March 6, 1991.

“We made it clear during the 2+4 negotiations [by the GDR, the FRG, France, the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States] that we would not extend NATO beyond the Elbe. So we could not offer NATO membership to Poland and others,” said FRG representative Jurgen Chrobog.

It is emphasized that such an opinion was identical to the official position of the Federal Government led by Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. In his statement, says Der Spiegel, Chroborg apparently confused the Elbe and the Oder. Contrary to the diplomat’s assertions, during the two plus four negotiations, Bonn had never said that NATO would not extend beyond the Elbe. According to the treaty, a united Germany was to become a member of NATO, which would extend it to the Oder.

“And now some people are asking why we don’t accept verbal promises and gentlemen’s agreements,” Polyansky said of the story in Der Spiegel, adding that “it was a mistake of Western leaders to break from such promises while the Soviet and Russian leaders kept theirs”. .”

Russia’s position

In early February, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia had been deceived, despite originally being promised that NATO infrastructure would not expand eastward.

“They said one thing and did something very different,” he said, adding that NATO’s open door policy was not legally affirmed.

On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published draft agreements on security guarantees that Moscow expected the United States and NATO to conclude with it. Two treaties – with the United States and alliance members – include, among other things, a commitment to refrain from NATO’s eastward expansion, including the admission of Ukraine , as well as restrictions on the deployment of major offensive weapons, including nuclear ones.

Earlier, the Russian president called on NATO to start serious negotiations with the aim of giving Russia reliable and long-term security guarantees. He made it clear that Moscow needed legally binding guarantees, because previously Western counterparts had failed to deliver on their verbal promises.

Russia, the United States and NATO have held several rounds of consultations in different formats, but no agreement has been unveiled so far.