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Russia to need guarantees of Ukraine's NATO non-entry in case Kiev changes mind — diplomat

November 20, 2014, 17:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Provision of guarantees of Ukraine's NATO non-entry may help ease tensions

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MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. The issue of guarantees of Ukraine’s non-admission to NATO will be raised if Kiev takes the decision to change the country’s nonaligned status, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“As far as I understand, Ukrainian politicians have made separate statements on the possibility of changing the constitutional neutral status of the state,” the diplomat said. “So, if the key political decision on changing this neutral status is made, then certainly the issue of guarantees will be immediately and straightforwardly raised,” Lukashevich said. “It is clear that the provision of such guarantees may help ease this tension.”

“The genesis of the situation shows that all the loud statements that NATO infrastructure would not approach Russia’s borders and that the alliance would not expand further to the east were just declarations,” Lukashevich said.

“Therefore, Russia has proposed making these obligations legally binding with their possible fixing in the European security treaty and keeps this proposal on the negotiating table as its major European initiative,” said the diplomat. “We had proposed several years ago to discuss such treaty both within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and within the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). But the NATO partners have unambiguously rejected this idea, the same as the idea of assuming legal obligations by all the signatories to the treaty, including Russia, saying that NATO could give legal guarantees only to its members.”

“Therefore, this question should rather be addressed not to the Russian side that wants all the states in the Euro-Atlantic space to feel secure and make this security equal and comprehensive for all,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

“We hope very much that the adamant position linked with reluctance to discuss this issue both within the framework of the OSCE and NATO-Russia Council and other formats will be changing along with the developments in the Euro-Atlantic,” Lukashevich said. “This task is of major importance and we will continue to promote this idea in various formats, international and regional,” he said.

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