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2022-January-12  11:35

Envoy: US Needs to Remove Its Military Capabilities from Russian Borders

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov called on Washington to abandon the aggressive rhetoric of foreign expansion and remove its military potential from Russian borders.

"We have nowhere to retreat. NATO has crept up to the Russian borders. Tries to dominate not only on land, but also at the sea and in the air. We will not allow the developments that would undermine the independence and sovereignty of the Russian Federation," the envoy pointed out on Wednesday, TASS reported.

Antonov recalled that "the United States, together with Russia, had a special responsibility for international peace and security", as stated in the UN Charter.

"It’s time to abandon the aggressive rhetoric of foreign expansion, and think about how future generations will live together. To do this, you need to do very little - respect your neighbor, avoid threats and move your military potential away from the Russian borders," the diplomat said.

The Russian-US consultations on security guarantees took place on January 9-10 in Geneva. The meeting of the NATO-Russia Council is scheduled for January 12 in Brussels, while the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Permanent Council in Vienna will be held on January 13.

The US Department of State’s rhetoric, aimed at blaming Moscow, does not contribute to a constructive dialogue in the Russian-US talks, Antonov added.

"The accusatory rhetoric of senior State Department officials does not lead to creating a constructive atmosphere in the negotiations. <…> We need concrete actions by the American side, not disinformation or accusations of all the sins," the Russian envoy noted.

Antonov also stated that "it was time to stop the policy of encouraging the fascist thugs marching in Kiev".

There has been a flurry of statements in the West and Kiev lately that Russia could invade Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed they were unsubstantiated escalation and that Russia doesn’t threaten anyone. At the same time, he didn’t rule out provocations to corroborate these Western statements and warned that the use of force to resolve the crisis in Southeastern Ukraine will have serious consequences.

Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin has also said Moscow has no plans to invade Ukraine, Sky News television reported on Tuesday.

"We have no intention to do that" either now or in the foreseeable future, he stated when asked if Russia could firmly deny it plans the invasion.

"It means that we have no intention to do that at all," he added.

Kelin accused NATO of emboldening Ukraine to act more aggressively.

"We see that NATO is pushing Ukraine to be more and more aggressive in a sense," he said, adding Moscow is on the contrary seeking to reduce tensions in Europe.

Countries like Ukraine have the right to ensure their security as they see fit but they also have to take into account the interests of their neighbors, Kelin continued. Granting NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia could create the risk of war, the ambassador warned.

Kelin criticized NATO exercises near Russian borders, such as the recent maneuvers in the Black Sea.

"It is dangerous for us. It contains the risk of a large-scale war," he said, adding, "That is why we need to act."

Russia also holds drill to be prepared to repel any threats, the ambassador said. Still, the country wants to agree, once and forever, on the terms that would allow it to co-exist with the US and NATO, he added.

The idea for Russia to join NATO is unrealistic, he noted.

Ambassador Julianne Smith, the US permanent representative to NATO, said during a conference call in Brussels on Tuesday NATO won’t pull back to its size as of two decades ago.

"When you talk to NATO allies one thing becomes clear in terms of consensus at the table," she stated, adding that "this alliance is not going to be rolling back time and returning to a completely different era, where we had a very different alliance with smaller and a very different footprint".

"We are operating in today’s world," she went on to say.

Smith made the comments when asked about Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s statement that NATO must withdraw to its borders of 1997.