Towards a failure of the Russia-NATO negotiations?

The negotiations which are being held this week in Geneva between the representatives of the Russian Federation and those of the Western camp, including the United States and NATO, have since yesterday evening experienced a severe hardening after the rejection, all in all predictable, of the Westerners of the demands in the form of an ultimatum put on the table by the Kremlin. Since then, the situation has continued to deteriorate; and the statements, largely coming from the Russian side, raise fears of a very severe hardening of relations between the two camps, which could even lead to an armed conflict, in Ukraine or even beyond.

Let us recall that Russia is demanding several major concessions from NATO in order to hope for a normalization of bilateral relations, including the halting of NATO's extension to the east, including with regard to member countries of the EU such as Sweden and Finland, the Western commitment not to support Kiev militarily, the withdrawal of American troops from countries belonging to the former Soviet Union and former members of the Warsaw Pact, and the cessation of joint exercises in those countries. In other words, Moscow is demanding from the West that NATO's principle of common protection be stripped of its substance with regard to the countries which previously belonged to its sphere of influence. As such, the words chosen by the Russian delegation are revealing of Russian thought today, since according to them, these countries, former allies of Russia, found themselves "orphans" following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and were captured by the West to reinforce its positions. At no time does Moscow consider its own responsibility in the desire of the Poles, Baltics and Hungarians to join the EU and especially NATO to protect itself from Russian military power, and only seems to conceive of international geopolitics as a confrontation of spheres of influence.

Two Mirage 2000-5Fs perform a flight following a tango scramble on August 21, 2018 at Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

Obviously, it seems unthinkable for the Western camps to accept such conditions. Obviously, the American and European negotiators hoped that during these meetings, the Russian demands could be replaced by other proposals, such as, for example, the guarantee not to deploy American nuclear weapons on the soil of these countries, or the reduction of major exercises near the Russian or Belarusian borders, since today it seems that Moscow and Minsk are making common cause in every way. The objective was obviously to appease the Russian negotiators by proposing ways out, while leaving the specter of very severe sanctions against Russia and against the Russian leaders, including Vladimir Putin, if Moscow were to persist.

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