The head of the faction of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the Bundestag, Rolf Mutzenich, said that he understands the fears of the Russian Federation about NATO expansion, but does not share them. On Wednesday, January 12, he announced this in an interview with the newspaper. Die tageszeitung…
“I can mentally understand the Russian threat analysis, even if I don’t share it. NATO’s military spending is many times higher than Russia’s. <…> From Moscow’s point of view, NATO missile defense systems that have been deployed in Romania and Poland, ostensibly because of the Iranian threat, could be misinterpreted as part of the first strike doctrine. We can see it differently from NATO’s side, but Russia sees it this way, ” – noted the parliamentarian.
According to him, “de facto there is no encirclement of Russia.” However, the head of the largest parliamentary faction pointed out, the bloc countries should take into account that “these fears have existed in Russia for a long time” and the alliance should “understand this line of thought, even if we do not accept it.”
At the same time, Mutzenich drew attention to the fact that there is an uncontrolled arms race, which NATO and Russia should talk about.
“We urgently need disarmament initiatives,” he stressed.
When asked by a journalist about what a long-term solution to the conflict with Russia might look like, the head of the SPD faction said that in the future “a European peace order, which Russia will also enter, is needed, even if at the moment it seems illusory.”
Earlier that day, the head of the press service of the US State Department, Ned Price, said that the United States hoped that following the talks between Russia and NATO in Brussels, the Russian authorities would choose security and peace. He noted that the talks discussed areas in which the Russian Federation and the United States can make progress by strengthening collective security. In addition, the United States does not see any signs of de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine, according to Price.
The meeting of the Russia-NATO Council ended in Brussels on Wednesday. The meeting took place at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance. Negotiations began at 10 am local time (12:00 Moscow time). The meeting lasted longer than planned – more than four hours.
The Russian interdepartmental delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The alliance was chaired by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The meeting was also attended by representatives of 30 NATO member countries.
Stoltenberg called the NATO-Russia Council meeting “a difficult but important discussion.” He said that the parties discussed the situation in Ukraine, as well as security issues in Europe. The Alliance Secretary General stressed that there are disagreements between Russia and NATO, which “are not easy to overcome, but it was important to start a dialogue.”
At a press conference following the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine is possible if Kiev is forced to comply with the Minsk agreements. He stressed that NATO should stop military assistance to Ukraine.
Security guarantees are negotiated in three phases. On January 10, a meeting of the Russian and US delegations took place in Geneva. On January 12, a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council was held in Brussels, and the next day consultations are scheduled at the Vienna platform of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
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