Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Explains Moscow’s Proposals to SI Conference

The Schiller Institute (SI) was honored to have Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, as a major speaker at its international video-conference of April 9 (cf. a report on the event here). In his speech, the ambassador thanked the SI for offering this opportunity, in the midst of the near-total breakdown in relations, to address the issue of shaping a new security architecture in the world today.

Turning to the period after the dissolution of the USSR, he noted that the Western powers declared themselves the winners, and proceeded to lay the basis for the “infamous rules-based order”, under which the role of international institutions not controlled by Washington has steadily declined. Despite what he called Russia’s “readiness to compromise” and repeated attempts to engage cooperation with the West, NATO continued to expand eastward and to hold exercises on Russia’s borders, while key global security agreements were scrapped. One result is that today, “the combined military expenditures of NATO countries exceed Russia’s defense budget by at least 25 times”.

In Moscow’s view, according to the ambassador, “any system of European security must take into account the national interests of all states, including, of course, Russia…. We must be an equal party of European and global security with full voting status… All we have demanded was respect and recognition of Russia’s national interests.”

Concerning Ukraine, the ambassador recalled his country’s position: “Today it is extremely important to achieve the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine; to consolidate Kiev’s nuclear-free status and its commitment to international agreements on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction…. There should be no threats to the Russian Federation coming from the Ukrainian territory. This is the objective of our special military operation.”

During the discussion, Ambassador Antonov stressed the importance for all members of the international community to sit together and discuss all outstanding issues. “But, I would like to confirm an importance for your NGO to be involved in this process. I am sure that without your assistance, it will be very difficult to find a compromise which fits everybody.”

Highlights from Anatoly Antonov’s interventions were covered in several news wires by Tass and Sputnik News.

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