Putin proposes beginning substantive talks to guarantee NATO won't expand eastward
MOSCOW. Dec 1 (Interfax) - Russia will insist in the course of dialogue with the United States and NATO on achieving solid agreements ruling out the eastward expansion of NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"Our diplomats currently have a priority task to achieve the provision of solid, reliable, and long-term security guarantees. We will insist in the course of dialogue with the United States and its allies on the elaboration of specific agreements that will rule out any kind of further eastward expansion by NATO and the deployment of weapons threatening us in the close vicinity of Russian territory," Putin said.
Putin invited Western partners "to begin substantive negotiations on this issue." "Please note that we need formal, legal guarantees of security," he said, adding that Western partners have refused to keep the relevant verbal promises, "such as verbal assurances on NATO not expanding eastward."
"They did exactly the opposite thing," Putin said.
"We don't demand any special terms for ourselves, as we realize that any agreements should be concluded with due account of the interests of Russia and all Euro-Atlantic states," he said.
"Russia is interested in building constructive interaction in the development of equal international cooperation, and this remains the chief postulate of Russia's foreign policy. Hopefully, you will deliver this message to the leaderships of your countries," Putin told foreign ambassadors.