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Russia publishes foreign minister's letter on mutual security to Finland, other EU countries

The letter accuses EU and Nato countries of interpreting existing security agreements as they see fit.

Sergei Lavrov istuu etualalla tummanharmaassa puvussa, kravatti kaulassaan. Taustalla näkyy Venäjän lippu.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference in January. Image: Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA
Yle News

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a letter that was sent by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Finland and other countries.

Finland confirmed on Tuesday that it received a message sent from the Russian embassy on behalf of the minister about security guarantees.

Relations between Russia and western countries have become increasingly strained, with a buildup of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine prompting fears of renewed conflict.

In the letter, addressed to several member states of the EU and Nato, Lavrov questions whether they will comply with obligations "not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of other States."

While the document made repeated references to security agreements signed at OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) summits, a group of states made up of 57 members, the Finnish foreign ministry said that, according to their information, not all OSCE members have received the letter.

Lavrov referred to, among other agreements, the Charter for European Security, which was signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999.

Lavrov: Nato heading for "irresponsible expansion"

He cited the "principle of indivisible security" mentioned in the charter and accused countries in the EU and Nato of interpreting it as they see fit and using it to promote their own agenda.

"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 letter stated.

Lavrov also accuses the countries of taking a narrow rather than a collective approach towards security.

"The principle of indivisible security is selectively interpreted as a justification for the ongoing course toward irresponsible expansion of Nato," he adds.

The letter requests a clear and prompt response, from individual member states rather than a bloc, regarding how governments plan to maintain their commitment to indivisible security.

In December, Russia called on the United States and Nato to stop expanding the military alliance to the east.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said officials would go through the letter and discuss potential responses with other EU countries.

The original Russian-language version of the letter was also published.

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