A prominent Russian diplomat warned Thursday that a military deployment cannot be ruled out of Russia in Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States increase.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation in Monday’s negotiations in Geneva, said in televised statements on Thursday that he could neither confirm nor exclude the possibility of Russia establishing military infrastructure in Cuba and Venezuela.
The talks in Geneva and Wednesday’s meeting between Russia and NATO in Vienna failed to reduce discrepancies on Russian security demands, while Russia keeps troops mobilized near Ukraine.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Photo: Bloomberg
In an interview with Russian television station RTVI, Ryabkov noted that «it all depends on the actions of our American counterparts,» noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia could take technical-military measures if the United States acts to provoke Russia and increase military pressure.
Ryabkov said that the United States and NATO have rejected Moscow’s main claim, a guarantee that the alliance will not expand to Ukraine and other former Soviet nations, adding that the great differences in the strategies of the two sides cast doubt on the continuity of the talks.
Frustration over the lack of progress was clearly evidenced when the diplomat assured that Russia saw no reason to organize «in the next few days» a new round of negotiations.
«Without clarifying whether there is … flexibility on the other side on important issues, there is no reason to sit at the table in the next few days, meet again and start the same discussions,» Riabkov said in an interview with the Russian television RTVi.
Riabkov has assured that Russia has no «intention» to attack Ukraine, but calls for a treaty banning any future NATO expansion, the non-deployment of offensive weapons near Russia and the drastic reduction of Western cooperation and military maneuvers in Eastern Europe.
«These three demands are key,» Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian television channel Pervyi Kanal.
This Thursday, Russia rejected a draft sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin in case of invasion of Ukraine presented by top US senators.
«Sanctions against a head of state is a measure that would cross a limit, it would be the equivalent of a break in relations,» denounced the spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov.
«Russia never bowed under the weight of sanctions,» Riabkov said on Thursday.
Source: AP and AFP