Russia says it does not understand the US criticism over Moscow’s troop deployment within its own territorial jurisdiction, while the presence of American troops in Europe does not provoke any condemnation.
In a statement Tuesday posted on Twitter, the Russian Embassy in the United States denounced the “logic” of US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman stating that Russia should ‘return its troops to barracks or tell US what exercises are ongoing and what their purpose is’, while US doesn't intend to discuss its troop levels in Europe with Russia.
"It is our choice where and when to conduct military exercises on our national territory. We will continue to conduct them because it meets Russian security interests," the Russian Embassy said, hitting back at the US.
We don't understand the logic of @DeputySecState who states that 🇷🇺 should "return its troops to barracks or tell 🇺🇸 what exercises are ongoing and what their purpose is" while 🇺🇸 doesn't intend to discuss its troop levels in Europe with us.— Russian Embassy in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) January 11, 2022
📎 https://t.co/YQLPgLsUze pic.twitter.com/Qf5U690g63
The statement came on the heels of Russian-US talks in Geneva on Monday, focusing on security guarantees, and Washington threatened Moscow with “financial sanctions” and other “costs” in the event of a military invasion of Ukraine.
Sherman told reporters after the meeting that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border would serve as a proof that Russia had no plans of invading Ukraine.
In another tweet, the embassy stressed that the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping forces were carrying out the “mission to ensure security of the critical infrastructure in Kazakhstan upon the request of its authorities”, while the US troops keep “occupying territories of Iraq and Kosovo.”
“The press-service of (US) @StateDept has no grounds to give counsel how to reestablish order and protect human rights,” read the tweet, stressing that “pillars of stability and security” in the post-Soviet area and in many other countries were greatly undermined “due to the systematic interference of the US in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.”
Unlike the 🇺🇸 troops, occupying territories of 🇸🇾 and Kosovo in 🇷🇸, the peacekeeping forces of the @CSTO_ODKB carry out the mission to ensure security of the critical infrastructure in 🇰🇿 upon the request of its authorities. pic.twitter.com/LfA0Cjvl5g— Russian Embassy in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) January 11, 2022
The US and its Western allies accuse Russia of planning “an invasion” of Ukraine amid military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegations and insists that the deployments are defensive in nature.
On Sunday, Russia’s lead negotiator and deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov held talks with his US counterpart Wendy Sherman in Geneva, which he termed “difficult, but businesslike.”
Ryabkov said that Kremlin was "disappointed" with signals coming from the US and NATO’s European members as Moscow seeks a new security arrangement with the West.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his remarks on Sunday said Russia had to choose between “dialogue and confrontation.”
“There's a path of dialogue and diplomacy to try to resolve some of these differences and avoid a confrontation,” Blinken said. “The other path is confrontation and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression on Ukraine,” he added.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has termed the US accusations against Russia as “empty and unfounded” which he said serve as a ploy to escalate tensions.
He reiterated Russian demands including a ban on further NATO expansion and an end to the alliance's military activity in the central and eastern European countries that joined it after 1997.
“We underscore that for us it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO,” Peskov said after Monday’s meeting.
“We do not trust the other side, so to say. We need iron-clad, waterproof, bulletproof, legally binding guarantees,” he asserted. “Not assurances, not safeguards, guarantees with all the words 'shall, must', everything that should be put in, 'never ever becoming a member of NATO'. It’s a matter of Russia’s national security.”
Moscow has repeatedly reiterated that expansion of the NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine constitutes a red line for it and that any future expansion must exclude Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.
NATO on Monday warned Moscow to brace for conflict with the US-led military alliance if it does not abandon its “belligerent foreign policy” and cooperate with the West amid soaring tensions.
“NATO’s deterrence is credible and strong, we have to hope and work hard for the best, but be prepared for the worst,” NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, adding that a “risk of conflict” loomed large.
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