Russia has ‘little reason to be optimistic’ after US rejects NATO request

Russia said it had “little reason to be optimistic” on Thursday after the United States rejected Moscow’s request to halt NATO expansion, but left the door open for further diplomacy. as the West seeks to defuse tensions over a possible invasion of Ukraine.

Responding to a written response from Washington about a list of security requirements, Moscow said it would take time to consider the US action before issuing a formal response.

“You cannot say that our idea was implemented on board or [that the US and Nato] Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Thursday.

The US has warned that Putin is planning a new invasion of Ukraine after massing 106,000 troops on the border and pledging to impose “major” Western sanctions in response to any move. Russian aggression.

Russia denies it plans to invade but threatens the “most unpredictable and most serious consequences” for European security if the West refuses its security demands, formally outlined in two drafts. The pact was announced last month.

Russia’s demands include asking NATO to commit to never admitting Ukraine, to stop expanding eastward, and to roll back force deployments in former communist countries in Eastern Europe that joined after 1997.

The US has repeatedly said this is unacceptable while insisting it is ready to cooperate with Russia on issues such as arms control and force deployment.

After the United States issued a written response to the Russian proposals, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the transatlantic alliance would not return to its policy of opening up and letting countries freely associate with NATO.

Moscow claims the US and NATO are increasing tensions around Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with weapons and by training its troops for eight years in a slow war with Russian-backed separatists in the region. Donbas region, eastern Ukraine. The conflict erupted shortly after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, killing 14,000 people.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US response “enables us to have confidence in starting a serious conversation, but on secondary issues. There has been no positive response in the literature on the main issue,” according to Interfax.

Peskov would not say whether Lavrov would meet with Blinken again to discuss the proposals or whether Putin was prepared to hold another round of talks with US President Joe Biden.

“There is always the potential to continue the dialogue. It is in our interest and in the interest of the American people. Even if our views are sometimes diametrically opposite, you always need dialogue,” says Peskov.

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