Posting these documents in a sequence of how they happened will assist in understanding one clear fact.  Russia has not stepped back one inch despite the flurry of so-called megaphone diplomacy tried at the UN in the last few days.  Neither has Russia changed her plans and strategy to bring the question of indivisible security to the forefront.

  1. Text of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov`s written message on Indivisibility of Security addressed to the Heads of Foreign / External Affairs Ministers / Secretaries of the US, Canada and several European countries.

  2. Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

  3. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question following his telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Moscow, February 1, 2022


Text of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov`s written message on Indivisibility of Security addressed to the Heads of Foreign / External Affairs Ministers / Secretaries of the US, Canada and several European countries.

You are well aware that Russia is seriously concerned about increasing politico-military tensions in the immediate vicinity of its western borders. With a view to avoiding any further escalation, the Russian side presented on 15 December 2021 the drafts of two interconnected international legal documents – a Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Security Guarantees and an Agreement on Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation and Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The U.S. and NATO responses to our proposals received on 26 January 2022 demonstrate serious differences in the understanding of the principle of equal and indivisible security that is fundamental to the entire European security architecture. We believe it is necessary to immediately clarify this issue, as it will determine the prospects for future dialogue.

The Charter for European Security signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999 formulated key rights and obligations of the OSCE participating States with respect to indivisibility of security. It underscored the right of each participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements including treaties of alliances, as they evolve, as well as the right of each State to neutrality. The same paragraph of the Charter directly conditions those rights on the obligation of each State not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of other States. It says further that no State, group of States or Organization can have any pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE area or can consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.

At the OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010, the leaders of our nations approved a declaration that reaffirmed this comprehensive package of interconnected obligations.

However, the Western countries continue to pick up out of it only those elements that suit them, and namely – the right of States to be free to choose alliances for ensuring exclusively their own security. The words ‘as they evolve’ are shamefacedly omitted, because this provision was also an integral part of the understanding of ‘indivisible security’, and specifically in the sense that military alliances must abandon their initial deterrence function and integrate into the all-European architecture based on collective approaches, rather than as narrow groups. The principle of indivisible security is selectively interpreted as a justification for the ongoing course toward irresponsible expansion of NATO.

It is revealing that Western representatives, while expressing their readiness to engage in dialogue on the European security architecture, deliberately avoid making reference to the Charter for European Security and the Astana Declaration in their comments. They mention only earlier OSCE documents, particularly often – the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe that does not contain the increasingly ‘inconvenient’ obligation not to strengthen own security at the expense of the security of other States. Western capitals also attempt to ignore a key OSCE document – the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, which clearly says that the States will choose their security arrangements, including membership in alliances, ‘bearing in mind the legitimate security concerns of other States’.

It will not work that way. The very essence of the agreements on indivisible security is that either there is security for all or there is no security for anyone. The Istanbul Charter provides that each OSCE participating State has equal right to security, and not only NATO countries that interpret this right as an exceptional privilege of membership in the ‘exclusive’ North Atlantic club.

I will not comment on other NATO guidelines and actions that reflect the aspiration of the ‘defensive’ bloc to military supremacy and the use of force bypassing the prerogatives of the U.N. Security Council. Suffice it to say that such actions contravene the fundamental all-European obligations including the commitments under the aforementioned documents to maintain only such military capabilities that are commensurate with individual or collective security needs, taking into account the obligations under international law, as well as the legitimate security interests of other States.

Discussing the present situation in Europe, our colleagues from the United States, NATO and the European Union make constant appeals for ‘de-escalation’ and call on Russia to ‘choose a path of diplomacy’. We want to remind: we have been moving along that path for decades. The key milestones, such as the documents of the Istanbul and Astana summits, are exactly the direct result of diplomacy. The very fact that the West now tries to revise to its benefit these diplomatic achievements of the leaders of all OSCE countries raises serious concern. The situation demands a frank clarification of positions.

We want to receive a clear answer to the question how our partners understand their obligation not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of other States on the basis of the commitment to the principle of indivisible security. How specifically does your Government intend to fulfil this obligation in practical terms in the current circumstances? If you renege on this obligation, we ask you to clearly state that.

Without having full clarity on this key issue related to the interconnection of rights and obligations approved at the highest level, it is impossible to ensure the balance of interests embodied in the instruments of the Istanbul and Astana summits. Your response will help to better understand the extent of the ability of our partners to remain faithful to their commitments, as well as the prospects for common progress toward decreasing tensions and strengthening European security.

We look forward to your prompt reply. It should not take long as the point  is to clarify the understanding on the basis of which Your President/Prime Minister signed the corresponding obligations.

We also expect that the response to this letter will be given in the national capacity, as the aforementioned commitments were undertaken by each of our States individually and not within any bloc or in the name thereof.


Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

On February 1, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the latter’s initiative.

They continued their exchange of views on providing legally binding security guarantees to Russia in the context of the written response of the US and NATO to the initial drafts of the international legal agreements. Foreign Minister Lavrov emphasised the imperative character of our demands that all OSCE countries faithfully abide by the commitment not to enhance their security at the expense of the security of others, including NATO’s non-expansion and non-deployment of offensive weapons near Russian borders.

Opportunities to continue working on security guarantees were discussed in light of the current proposals under consideration.

During the discussion of Ukraine, Sergey Lavrov called on his counterpart to use US influence on the Ukrainian authorities to compel them to fully implement the Minsk Agreements instead of ratcheting up the aggressive rhetoric and loading up the Armed Forces of Ukraine with various types of weapons.

During the discussion of the bilateral agenda, Mr Lavrov spoke about Washington’s unacceptable policy of restricting the activities of Russian diplomatic missions in the United States. The officials agreed to step up the search for ways to remove these “irritants.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question following his telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Moscow, February 1, 2022

Question: Has Moscow responded to the Americans’ written materials that were sent following Russia’s proposals on security guarantees? What was the gist of your telephone conversation today with Antony Blinken? What contacts are planned for the future in this context?

Sergey Lavrov: Today, we heard from the US Department of State that they have allegedly received a response from Moscow to the document that the Americans sent in reply to our initial proposals on security guarantees in Europe.

This is a misunderstanding. We started studying the US response when we received it about a week ago. It was clear from the start that the Americans prefer to focus on discussing important albeit secondary issues. They asked if it was possible to agree on the non-deployment of offensive weapons on a reciprocal basis, including medium- and shorter-range missiles that had been covered once by the INF Treaty which the US destroyed. They mentioned transparency in holding exercises, measures for avoiding unforeseen incidents between combat aircraft and ships and other confidence-building measures.

As for the key issue that prompted us to send our initiatives to the United States and NATO, their response was negative. I am referring to our demands for honest implementation of the agreements on the indivisibility of security, which were reached in the OSCE framework in Istanbul in 1999 and in Astana in 2010. These agreements not only envisage the freedom to choose alliances but also make this freedom dependent on the need to avoid any steps that would enhance security at the expense of the security of others. We saw that the US and NATO response to our key question was extremely negative. They focus only on the freedom to choose alliances and completely ignore the condition that was approved at the highest level, notably, that it is unacceptable to encroach on the security of other states in the process.

We are also concerned over the position of other NATO countries, for instance, France. Its defence minister said not so long ago that they insist on the need to ensure security based on the documents that preceded the adoption of the Istanbul Charter and the Astana Declaration. The minister cited a document of the 1990 OSCE summit in Paris, which did not contain a demand not to enhance security at the expense of others. In other words, our Western colleagues are trying to consign to oblivion rather than simply ignore a key principle of international law accepted in the Euro-Atlantic space. To prevent this from happening, when we received Washington’s response to our initial proposals, I described in detail everything we are talking about now in a separate message and sent it to all foreign ministers of the OSCE states and some other countries to familiarise them with our position.

Today, I reaffirmed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that we won’t allow this issue to be dragged out. We will insist on honest conversations and explanations of why the West does not want to honour its commitments at all, or only selectively when it benefits them. Mr Blinken agreed that this is a subject for another conversation. We will see how it goes. At present, we are completing the interdepartmental work on US proposals on other issues. We will report on them to our President.

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