Russia on Friday spelled out its demands for sweeping new security guarantees from the United States and NATO, seeking pledges that would halt NATO’s eastward expansion and block U.S. military ties with former Soviet states.
The central tenets of Russia’s “sphere of influence” doctrine — including demands for an effective veto of other nations’ foreign and security policies — have repeatedly been dismissed as nonstarters by NATO officials. A senior Biden administration official described some of Russia’s demands as “unacceptable” to Washington and said Moscow “knows that.”
But the latest announcement by the Kremlin underscored its escalating confrontation with the West over Ukraine, which Russia views as part of its political orbit. It also raised worries among analysts that Moscow is making requests that it knows the United States will not agree to, in order to create a pretext for possible military action against Ukraine once those demands are spurned.
Russia published two lists of demands — for Washington and for NATO — the latter calling for the removal of all NATO military infrastructure installed in Eastern European countries after 1997, effectively attempting to rework the consequences of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, which left Russia weakened for years.
The demands for NATO also seek to prevent the alliance from carrying out any military activity outside its territory in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
A senior Biden administration official, during a briefing with reporters Friday, dismissed some of Russia’s demands as “unacceptable” for the United States and said it was unhelpful to conduct the negotiations in public.
The official said the United States will not compromise on key principles on which European security is built, including the right of all countries “to decide their own future and their own foreign policy, free from outside interference.”