Ties with NATO have reached a ‘moment of truth’: Russia

Moscow said on Tuesday that ties between Russia and NATO had reached a “moment of truth” ahead of high-stakes talks over Ukraine and security demands from the Kremlin. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko was speaking following Monday’s U.S.-Russia negotiations in Geneva that launched a week of diplomacy between Russia and the West amid fears of a Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbour Ukraine. Moscow has demanded wide-ranging concessions from Washington and its NATO allies, which in turn have threatened severe sanctions for any attack. A meeting of the NATO Russia Council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday. “It’s no exaggeration to say that a moment of truth is coming in our relations with the alliance,” Mr. Grushko was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. Moscow has demanded wide-ranging security gurantees from Washington and its NATO allies and insists it has been promised that NATO would not expand eastward. “Our expectations are entirely realistic and we hope that this will be a serious, deep conversation on key, fundamental problems of European security,” Mr. Grushko said, referring to the talks in Brussels. ‘Little optimism’ He said Russia would demand a comprehensive response from the alliance to its demands. The Kremlin also said on Tuesday the security talks with the U.S. amid tensions over Ukraine have given little reason for optimism, adding that Russia would wait for the outcome of other meetings this week before deciding whether it’s worth to continue negotiations In December, Russia unveiled proposals to contain the United States and NATO in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, saying that the U.S.-led alliance should not admit Ukraine or Georgia as new members

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