The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Remind Putin of Russia’s prior declarations

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Nov. 2.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Nov. 2. (Sputnik Photo Agency/Via Reuters)
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Regarding the Dec. 8 front-page article “Biden warns Putin on Ukraine”:

In the Ukraine dispute with Russia, President Biden is on firm international ground in his assertion, communicated through national security adviser Jake Sullivan, that “countries should be able to freely choose who they associate with.” In fact, Russia itself is on the record supporting this proposition. 

At the most recent summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in December 2010, Russia joined the other 55 participating OSCE states in signing a Commemorative Declaration, which included the following unambiguous statements: “We reaffirm the inherent right of each and every participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve.” Moreover, no state can “consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.” And most telling, “We pledge to refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations or with the ten Principles of the Helsinki Final Act.”

If Russian President Vladimir Putin disagrees with the Astana declaration, he should publicly disavow these solemn commitments his country made. Until then, please spare us the pious blather about NATO aggression.

Mike Haltzel, Alexandria

The writer, a senior fellow at the
Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University SAIS, was European policy adviser to then-Sen. Joe Biden from 1994 to 2005

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