Interfax: Daily activities by Russian troops on their national territory pose no threat to U.S., OSCE countries – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. April 9 (Interfax) – Russia is not conducting any unusual or unplanned military activities on its territory in the area of the Ukrainian border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The U.S. and Ukraine have no reasons for concerns. Russia has said many times that it is not conducting any unusual or unplanned activities significant in terms of military issues on its territory in the area of the Ukrainian border,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary posted on its website.

“The daily activities by the Russian troops on its national territory do not threaten the security of the U.S. and other OSCE countries. The attempts to accuse Russia of beefing up its armed forces are groundless,” the ministry said.

“Russia has refused to take part in the joint meeting of the Permanent Council and the OSCE Forum on Cooperation in the Sphere of Security called in Vienna on April 7 at the request of the U.S. and Ukraine in connection with their concerns about the activities by the Russian Armed Forces in the areas bordering on Ukraine,” the document says. “We refused because there were no grounds for calling such a meeting and, consequently, to use the provisions of Chapter III of the Vienna Document on Confidence-Building and Security-Building Measures, which deal with the procedures for launching in the OSCE a mechanism of consultations on unusual military activities,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the lack of unusual military activities by the Russian Armed Forces “was convincingly confirmed by the results of international inspections on the Vienna Document and observation flights under the Open Skies Treaty conducted in the Russian Federation in March.”

“On those grounds, we earlier declined the U.S. request for a bilateral meeting as part of the said mechanism of consultations until we received from the U.S. objective data on the location of Russian troops in amounts exceeding the maximum levels of reported and observed military activities as per the provisions of the Vienna Document,” the commentary says.

“Simultaneously, we point out the statements made by the U.S. and other NATO countries and the NATO secretary-general on the plans to increase the U.S. and NATO armed forces in Eastern Europe, the Baltic and the Black Sea regions under the pretext of the events in Ukraine. We sent questions directly to NATO about that. In that situation, Russia did not see any point in meeting the U.S. and Ukrainian delegations halfway because they had launched an anti-Russian campaign in the OSCE, and refused to participate in the joint meeting of the Permanent Council and the OSCE Forum on Cooperation in the Sphere of Security, which was convened at their initiative,” then document says.

“In this regard, we cannot help but recall that the ‘high standards’ of the realization of the Vienna Document and, specifically, the mechanism of consultations on unusual military activities were demonstrated by the U.S. and its allies in NATO in 1999 during a military action against Yugoslavia without the authorization of the UN Security Council. The Republic of Belarus then did not receive the information it had requested, and some countries did not respond to requests at all. Moreover, this step was for some reason negatively taken by our Western partners, despite the fact that all actions taken by Belarus were fully in line with the Vienna Document,” the commentary says.

“We are calling on the U.S. and other member countries to stop using the OSCE tribune for fuelling tensions around Ukraine and begin constructive work to resolve the current crisis in Ukraine, normalize the situation and conduct a comprehensive constitutional reform to form a stable democratic system, with regard for the lawful interests of residents of all regions of the country,” the ministry said.