Russian media is discussing this interview actively today.
Question: Mr Ryabkov, is there any predictability in relations with the United States today?
Sergey Ryabkov: There is one-sided negative predictability, in fact. As for any prospects for improvement, everything is completely unpredictable. This is a sad conclusion based on the results of the long journey that we have travelled with the current US administration, with Donald Trump, and with Barack Obama. These problems did not emerge yesterday. They have to do with the US tendency, by and large, to deny Russia the role of a major independent player in international relations while trying to impose its own approaches to a whole range of issues, including how we should live in our own country.
All of the above certainly limits our prospects for straightening out relations – at least at the present stage, I would not risk giving any optimistic forecasts. We can definitely say there is predictability in that we will have to continue to deal with just this kind of America and this kind of American policy. And we are ready for this.
Question: Does this mean we cannot expect any transformation of the US approach to relations with Russia?
Sergey Ryabkov: We cannot see any progress, with the exception of the launch of several structured dialogues in areas that are certainly important as pivotal aspects of international security – I am referring to strategic stability and ICT security. Even so, we have just created channels for dialogue, and it would be premature to say that we are going to reach some global, significant, breakthrough decisions in the process. We are working towards this; we are striving for this, calling on the Americans to take a responsible approach to international security. We hope that our calls and signals will be heard. At the same time, we will not try and add issues that are not related to strategic stability, ICT security to the mix – such as our bilateral difficulties regarding visas and the activity of foreign missions. These are important questions as well, but we must not allow one to become dependent on the other. We will work where opportunities arise, where the Americans at least try to heed common sense and listen to our approaches.
Question: Can you tell us about progress on the New START Treaty?
Sergey Ryabkov: New START has been extended for five years. However, the first of these five years will expire on February 5, 2022. We have launched a dialogue on strategic stability, which will hopefully lead to the signing of a document or several documents that would be a good replacement for New START, which expires in four years.
We are working quite well within the framework of New START, holding meetings of the Bilateral Consultative Commission. The practice of mutual inspection visits will resume as the sanitary situation improves. Meanwhile, we are exchanging information in full measure and issuing notifications in accordance with the treaty. In short, work is proceeding well.
As for the other areas, there have been some wrinkles, which we are working to remove.
Question: How would you explain the growth in tension over Ukraine?
Sergey Ryabkov: It is primarily Washington’s geopolitical project, an attempt to expand its sphere of influence by getting new instruments for strengthening its positions, which Washington hopes will eventually allow it to dominate this region. It is also a way of creating problems for us by endangering our security. We have openly pointed out that there are red lines which we will not allow anyone to cross, and we also have certain requirements, which have been formulated exceedingly clearly. I believe everyone is aware of the signal President Vladimir Putin issued that Moscow needs maximally reliable legal guarantees of security. The President has instructed the Foreign Ministry to thoroughly address this matter. We are doing this. In particular, we are preparing definitive proposals and ideas, which we will submit for consideration by the Americans, and possibly their allies.
Question: Is it possible to mark red lines jointly with the United States?
Sergey Ryabkov: I believe that this is inherently impossible. There is such a wide gap in our approaches to international affairs and priorities in the so-called Euro-Atlantic that common red lines are unthinkable. There is only one red line we have marked jointly, which is very good. I am referring to the unacceptability of a nuclear war. By adopting the relevant statement issued by our leaders last June, Russia and the United States pointed out that they are aware of their joint responsibility. There will be no winners in a nuclear war, which must never be waged. This has been emphasised most definitely. I believe that this is a major positive factor during the current alarming period in international relations.
As for geopolitical red lines, no, we are rivals and opponents in this sense, and we will not suggest that the Americans do anything like this. We will demand that they do not cross our red lines, which we mark based on our national interests.
Question: Russia has mentioned the unacceptability of NATO’s eastward expansion. The bloc has replied that it has an open-door policy, and that any country complying with its membership principles can join it. What is Moscow’s attitude to this?
Sergey Ryabkov: This is really one of the biggest problems in the Euro-Atlantic region. NATO’s unrestrained expansion over the past decades has shown that Western advances, promises and commitments are of little value unless they are legally formalised. Soviet and later Russian leaders were told by responsible officials that NATO would not expand eastwards. We see that the situation is diametrically opposite.
NATO says that every country is free to decide how to guarantee its security, up to and including by joining military-political alliances. I would like to point out that the freedom to join alliances cannot be absolute. It is as it is in human societies, your freedom ends where the freedom of others begins. There must be clear boundaries and mutual obligations and responsibilities. This is why the phrase about the freedom to join alliances is always balanced by the phrase that this must not be done at the expense of the security of other states. This is the underlying principle of the OSCE, for example.
Regrettably, NATO’s expansion has long come into a dramatic conflict with this principle. We will continue to tell our opponents, both NATO states and the non-members, which would like to join the alliance, that it is impossible to do both things simultaneously. Therefore, there should be no further expansion of NATO. The attempt to present the matter by saying that Russia has no right of veto here is a futile attempt. We will continue to say that if our opponents act contrary to this truth, they will not strengthen their security but will instead face grave consequences.
Question: How does the alliance explain the need to move eastwards?
Sergey Ryabkov: There are no arguments. Moreover, they are trying to deny the validity of the very question of NATO’s eastward expansion. They are rejecting the opportunity to discuss this issue ostensibly as a matter of principle. But this is a mistake that could weaken their own security.
Question: Joseph Biden announced his readiness to discuss with Russia its concern over NATO’s expansion. When and in what format might consultations on this issue take place?
Sergey Ryabkov: We see the US readiness to continue discussing this issue, and this is a good sign. We have well-established channels – our dialogue with the United States is conducted in various areas. For one thing, there are the consultations on strategic stability, which I mentioned. Two working groups are involved in this.
One of them will be dealing with actions that exert a strategic effect. Understandably, security guarantees and non-crossing of red lines is exactly what we are talking about now. These are actions with a strategic effect.
We have channels of political dialogue with the United States as well. There are also formats of cooperation and discussion of these issues with NATO countries – albeit, not with all of them but with some, they are active, and we will probably use these formats eventually, as well.
Finally, the OSCE Forum for Security is operating as a pan-European venue in Vienna. After all, the venue of our dialogue doesn’t matter as much. What matters is the gist of our discussion.
For the time being, we do not quite understand how serious our opponents are. Therefore, we still need to conduct some probing surveys to find this out.
I would like to express the hope that this process will lead to a dramatic improvement in the entire strategic stability situation. We are talking about global security, including Russia’s. NATO and the US have now focused on the allegedly threatening concentration of our troops and hardware along the border with Ukraine. But permit me, in the first place, they are talking about our actions on our own territory. Is there a limit to geopolitical audacity, not to say, the impudence of those who are trying to dictate to us regarding what we can and cannot do within our own borders?
There is a second, no less important point: they are concentrating on specific developments in certain areas whereas we lay emphasis on the need to ensure security on a broad scale for decades to come. They are using a microscope whereas we are looking forward through binoculars in an effort to prevent unfavourable developments in the future.
Question: Do you know the date for talks on visa issues with the United States? What objectives is the Russian Federation pursuing in its consultations with Washington on this? Is there a chance to make any progress in this area by the end of this year or the beginning of the next?
Sergey Ryabkov: I sympathise with those who are having difficulties with US visas, and I would like to emphasise that the current situation in this area reflects the reluctance of the US to take obvious and very simple decisions. That is, to send the personnel necessary within the quota to Russia, a quota that has been in place for a long time and which has not been filled – neither in Moscow at the Embassy’s Consular Department, nor at the Consulates General in Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok – so they can restore regular service for Russian citizens. Instead, they maintain their absurd accusations to the effect that we are allegedly putting obstacles in the way of this. We haven’t done this; we just cannot unilaterally issue visas to Americans while our personnel cannot enter the United States because visa issuance to diplomatic personnel and holders of service passports has, in fact, been frozen.
It is a vicious cycle. We continue to suggested to the Americans a mutual resetting to restart normal operations at foreign missions. Instead they have ever more requests and ultimatums. The most questionable among them was the request that our diplomatic mission staff who have been in the United States for over three years need to leave. Why, on earth, three and not five years? We are forced to mirror their actions.
Unless the situation in this area changes, US staff here will have to leave here after the same time period. This may simply result in our foreign missions becoming unable to operate any more.
As for meetings, we expect the Americans to regard our proposals seriously – we have made a lot of them. As soon as they respond, we will be ready to arrange the consultations within the shortest notice possible: by the end of this year, by the end of December. So far the United States has yet to give a proper response. We call on them again to resolve this issue and this intolerable situation. It hurts not only our compatriots but also US citizens themselves, who also cannot get timely consular services.
Question: After the last Russian-US video summit we heard that contacts will continue in a different format. Are there any timeframes or understanding as to when such a meeting can take place?
Sergey Ryabkov: So far, no. However, the main thing is that we achieved an understanding about the need to maintain contact whether it is in a video format, by telephone or, of course, a face-to-face meeting. Still, it is too early to talk about specifics. Let’s first move at least toward implementing what the leaders talked about on December 7. Once again: the Foreign Ministry is working on this very closely, in accordance with our instructions.
This was an anxiety-provoking terrifying read, and every bit as serious as Mercouris intimated yesterday. It is the penultimate step before a 1962-level ultimatum is delivered..
There comes a point when wishing for and building up the golem of an enemy and crying wolf for 100 years that the Russians are coming turns into a reality.
Ryabkov is very senior in the Russian Min of Foreign Affairs and is projected to succeed FM Lavrov. Sometimes derided in past for being milquetoast. Yet he is now breathing dragonfire (at least on english transcript). He didn’t use that rainbow-colored term “partners” a single time.
Among what he did use, that raised my blood-pressure:
“..at least at the present stage, 𝙄 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙠 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙤𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙘 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙨. We can definitely say there is predictability in that we will have to continue to deal with just this kind of America and this kind of American policy. 𝘼𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨..”
“..We will work where opportunities arise, 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙨 𝙖𝙩 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙤𝙣 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 and listen to our approaches..”
“..[Ukraine] is primarily Washington’s geopolitical project, an attempt to expand its sphere of influence.. 𝙄𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙨𝙤 𝙖 𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙪𝙨 𝙗𝙮 𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮. We have openly pointed out that 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙬𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨, and we also have certain requirements, which have been 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙪𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙚𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙮 𝙘𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙮.”
“..There will be no winners in a nuclear war, which must never be waged. This has been emphasised most definitely. I believe that this is a major positive factor during 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨.”
“As for geopolitical red lines, no, we are rivals and opponents in this sense, and we will not suggest that the Americans do anything like this. 𝙒𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙙𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨, which we mark based on our national interests”
“NATO’s unrestrained expansion over the past decades has shown that 𝙒𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙣 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨, 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙞𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙫𝙖𝙡𝙪𝙚 unless they are legally formalised.”
“..We will continue to tell our 𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨, both NATO states and the non-members..”
“We will continue to say that if 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 act contrary to this truth, they will not strengthen their security but 𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙛𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙚𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨..”
“They are rejecting the opportunity to discuss this issue ostensibly as a matter of principle. But 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 that could 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮.”
“For the time being, 𝙬𝙚 𝙙𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚. Therefore, we still need to conduct some probing surveys to find this out.”
“..they are talking about our actions on our own territory. Is there a limit to geopolitical audacity, not to say, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙪𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙧𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙪𝙨 regarding what we can and cannot do within our own borders?”
It feels like the baton is about to be handed to Shoigu’s team.
The arrogance of the US is profound.
The Americans are incapable of negotiating with anyone, most especially with Russia.
They do understand actions.
Iran’s missile attack on the US base. The UAV Iran shot down. The failure of Iron Domes and Patriot Missile defenses against Iranian, Hamas and Houthi rockets and missiles.
Notice what they comprehend?
There was no diplomacy, no video meetings, no summits. Just action that left the US helpless.
The Taliban took the dual track. They bombed and IED’d the US and NATO in Afghanistan and then the US wanted talks, so the Taliban listened. They didn’t ask for Kabul, the airport, or the Bagram base or the $85 Billlion in weapons. They just accepted it all as the US left with its tail between its legs.
Actions that show the weakness of the US is the correct pattern of behavior.
The Donbass Army should be supplied to the hilt, turned loose on the Ukies and Russia should make sure that enough Voentorg and North Wind is applied to flush the nazis all the way back to Lviv.
The US and NATO and the Ukies will fold.
Russia can stay out of it.
The war criminals arrested get to star in a video streaming tribunal.
If Ahkmetov survives, he can use his billions to provide some coal so people don’t freeze.
If the EU and Germany don’t want Gazprom gas, they can freeze also.
Put the 404 out of its misery. The US will do nothing. Just be careful to use proxies to do it. Ahkmetov will help pay for the elimination of his enemies in Kiev.
Time is right.
Você está certo!
Estou no Brasil acompanhando atentamente as notícias alarmantes em diversas mídias e a impressão que temos aqui é que os EUA estão se preparando para atacar a Rússia!
Vladimir Putin precisa agir!
A Rússia precisa agir!
Que Deus nos Ilumine!
Glória Eterna à Eterna Rússia! 🇷🇺⭐🇷🇺
Paz de Cristo!
I am in Brazil closely following the alarming news in various media and the impression we have here is that the US is preparing to attack Russia!
Vladimir Putin must act!
Russia must act!
May God enlighten us!
Eternal Glory to Eternal Russia! 🇷🇺⭐🇷🇺
Ukraine is a huge compost pile. People in the West don’t realize, people in Ukraine do not want to realize. If Russia dismantels it now, it is to early. There must be some huge disaster first, real or fabricated does not matter.
If done before such a disaster it will be spinned again endlessly against Russia, like this ridiculous “Russia wants to invade Ukraine”. Human psychology needs drama to completely accept change of directions.
One has to ask who is it that the US government represents? It sure as Hell is not the American people.
“One has to ask who is it that the US government represents? It sure as Hell is not the American people.”
The 24-step Pilgrims Society Corporatist Imperial Federation Strategy to Return America to British Rule
First exposed and published by American journalist and suffragette Lillian Scott Troy in The San Francisco
Leader, Feb. 17, 24, 1912.
This is an email I’ve just sent to my grown-up children and teenage grandson:
Informing ourselves on what really matters in the world.
In 1962 Kennedy issued an ultimatum to Kruschev: remove the nuclear-armed missiles from Cuba OR ELSE. The reason the Soviets were building the base in Cuba was because the USA had already placed nuclear-armed missiles in Turkey, a NATO member then and now. Turkey, of course, is a short distance from Russia in missile terms. Kruschev said he would remove the missiles from Cuba providing the USA removed their missiles from Turkey. Kennedy agreed and the crisis was resolved. The Western spin was that Kruschev had backed down – the agreement about removing missiles from Turkey was only admitted in the West much later.
Fast forward to now and we are facing a similar stand-off: but this time it is Russia demanding that the USA/NATO back-off. For years, the USA (NATO is just a puppet of the US) has, despite promises they made to Gorbachev not to do so, moved ever closer to Russia by admitting new states into NATO – in particular the Baltic States of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia and the states of Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. Russia is now surrounded on its European borders by NATO states – with the exceptions of Georgia and Ukraine. In 2008 the USA promised Ukraine and Georgia that, in the future, they also could join NATO. This would have completely surrounded Russia with NATO states and some of those states, for sure, would have been used to host US nuclear-armed missiles. Also, being much closer to Russia than Turkey was in 1962, these nuclear-armed missiles might be less than 10 minutes flight time from Moscow. And remember, that the USA (unlike the Soviets, or Russia and China today) have never disavowed a first-use of nuclear weapons to carry out what is described as a decapitation attack to wipe-out the Russian leadership – meaning Russia could be defeated without cost to the USA as the Russian leadership would not exist to order a counter-strike against the USA.
For years, the Russians have been complaining about all of this – to no avail. This was the WARNING stage. They have now lost patience and entered a new stage: the DEMANDS stage. Carefully read this handout from the Russian Foreign Ministry from four days ago: https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4991520
This is unprecedented language (and demands) from the Russians. Notice the strong terms used, especially insists… and the timeframe within which these demands must be met.
The third stage, which is implicit in the Russian statement, is ULTIMATUM.. And what is an ultimatum? In a nutshell, it is: DO WHAT WE DEMAND… OR ELSE.
Only yesterday, 13th December, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, stated, amongst other things, that:
We will demand that they do not cross our red lines, which we mark based on our national interests…
Therefore, there should be no further expansion of NATO. The attempt to present the matter by saying that Russia has no right of veto here is a futile attempt. We will continue to say that if our opponents act contrary to this truth, they will not strengthen their security but will instead face grave consequences.
NATO and the US have now focused on the allegedly threatening concentration of our troops and hardware along the border with Ukraine. But permit me, in the first place, they are talking about our actions on our own territory. Is there a limit to geopolitical audacity, not to say, the impudence of those who are trying to dictate to us regarding what we can and cannot do within our own borders?
The full text in English of Ryabkov’s statements can be read here: http://thesaker.is/deputy-foreign-minister-sergey-ryabkovs-interview-with-izvestia-december-13-2021/
It’s no exaggeration to say that this is on a par of danger and importance to the Cuban Missile crisis itself. Except, that it is much slower-moving. Then, it flared up in a matter of weeks and there was an added element of drama in that Russian ships were on their way to Cuba, in the Atlantic Ocean, with the USA stating categorically that they would NOT be allowed to enter Cuban waters. Now, we are at the inflexion point where, after years of warnings from Russia, the Russians have moved to the demands stage with a timetable – and if their demands are not met they would undoubtedly move to the ultimatum stage.
Stage 1: Warnings
Stage 2: Demands
Stage 3: Ultimatum
With thanks to the inimitable Alexander Mercouris.