US: NATO will Not Close Out for Ukraine – Possible Blockade of Nord Stream 2

World | January 27, 2022, Thursday // 15:08
Bulgaria: US: NATO will Not Close Out for Ukraine – Possible Blockade of Nord Stream 2 China Daily

The United States and NATO have rejected Russia's demand that the alliance close the door on Ukraine's future membership, as well as abandon any further enlargement. In addition, Nord Stream 2 will not operate if Russia invades Ukraine.

These messages came from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on the day the US provided written responses to a list of Russian demands as conditions for de-escalation in the Ukrainian crisis.

The United States has Provided Russia with written Answers on Security Questions

Hours after the response was delivered last night by Washington's ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, Blinken said the United States was not ready to make concessions but offered a “serious way of diplomacy” to get out of the crisis “if Russia chooses to do so.”

According to the Secretary of State, the US written answers clearly state the “fundamental principles” of the United States, emphasize Ukraine's sovereignty and its right to choose its own defense alliances.

Moscow is asking the United States and NATO for guarantees not to expand the alliance (so that Georgia and Ukraine do not join) and to suspend all activity in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

“We work on all possible scenarios”

The United States does not plan to publish the text of the document, but according to Blinken, it contains “many positive things that need to be worked on.” If Russia does not want to respond constructively, “we are working on all possible scenarios,” the secretary of state said.

He said there were areas of “reciprocity” and possible security cooperation, but they would not be made public because the United States believed “diplomacy has the best chance of success under conditions of confidentiality”. A few months ago, Russia published a transcript of talks with French and German officials that angered Europe.

Earlier this year, Joe Biden's administration sent signals that it was ready to discuss topics such as missile deployment and the maximum range of military exercises in and around Eastern Europe over the Ukrainian crisis.

According to Blinken, the United States is not confident that Russia will invade Ukraine and “continue its aggression.” In contrast, his first deputy, Wendy Sherman said last night that “we see all the signs that he is about to use military force at some point - probably between today and mid-February.”

"We will work with Germany for Nord Stream 2"

At the same time, the State Department has threatened that the most controversial energy project in Europe, Nord Stream 2, which supplies gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine, will not run the blue fuel if Russia decides to invade Ukraine. Speaker Ned Price's remarks to US radio station NPR did not mean that the pipeline, which was completed last year, would not be put into operation - at least that would require Berlin's assistance.

However, the pipeline is still awaiting regulatory approval, and last night Nord Stream 2 registered a company in Germany in a bid to comply with local law, as neither the country nor the European Union has certified it and it cannot go into operation.

Germany's Federal Grid Agency - which regulates the country's electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal and railway sectors - suspended the pipeline's certification process in November, saying the operator must register a legal entity in Germany. The regulator said Wednesday that the certification process will remain suspended until the transfer of core assets and human resources to the subsidiary is completed and the Federal Network Agency will be able to verify the unit's documents for completeness.

“I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine in one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not continue. I will not go into details. We will work with Germany to make sure it does not continue,” he said. Price.

Emily Haber, the ambassador of Berlin to Washington, who visited the State Department yesterday (for talks with Deputy Secretary Victoria Newland), signaled almost at the same time on Twitter that no measures were ruled out in response to the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and Russia would pay a high price – “even Nord Stream 2”.

Meanwhile, the United States is coming up with ideas for other gas sources in the current situation - such as Qatar - and the idea will be discussed during the forthcoming visit of the emir of the rich Gulf state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

NATO's response

Earlier yesterday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that NATO had submitted a negative response in writing to a request to halt the alliance's expansion and limit the deployment of forces in Eastern Europe. These two requests were made by Russia to NATO, during his visit to the Russian Foreign Ministry Sullivan handed over two documents: both from Washington and from the Defense Union.

“We are facing a key moment for Europe's security,” Stoltenberg said, recalling that “there are over 130,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border and more forces are arriving” (according to other estimates, the number is closer to 100,000). “Every country is free to choose its path and Russia cannot put pressure on it if it wants to become part of NATO,” Stoltenberg continued.

NATO's response also suggests possible areas for negotiation. These include mutual arms control, the exchange of information on military maneuvers to avoid incidents, and (for the same purpose) a hotline mechanism for rapid communication in crisis situations, according to previously announced ideas.

According to the New York Times, the US and NATO responses include, in particular, the possibility of limiting medium-range and short-range nuclear missiles by renewing the existing Cold War treaty - until 2019, when former US President Donald Trump came out of it. The reason was a violation related to the already known 9M729 missile.

Russia's Foreign Ministry: NATO forces Must be Withdrawn from Bulgaria and Romania

“We will read, we will study,” said Russian Deputy Minister Alexander Grushko. The response of the Kremlin is imminent, whose key demands - the aforementioned (including Bulgaria) non-deployment in NATO member states since 1997, along with the suspension of exercises in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space - remain unmet.

/Dnevnik

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