Russia says U.S., NATO responses fail to satisfy ‘main issue’ on Ukraine



Russia says U.S., NATO responses fail to satisfy 'main issue' on Ukraine

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said that a response by the United States and NATO to its request regarding Ukraine did not satisfy its “main issue,” that the neighboring nation would be permitted to join the alliance. File Pool photo by Eduardo Munoz/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) — Russian officials on Thursday said that a written response presented by the United States and NATO to Moscow’s security demands did not quell its concerns about expansion of the military alliance.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists in Moscow that there “is no positive reaction on the main issue” in the document sent by the United States and its allies as Russia threatens to invade Ukraine while demanding that the neighboring nation not be admitted to NATO.

“The main issue is our clear position on the inadmissibility of further expansion of NATO to the East and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the written response “sets out a serious diplomatic path forward should Russia choose it.”

While he declined to detail specifics of the terms presented to Moscow, Blinken maintained that Russia’s central demand that NATO commit to never admit Ukraine is non-negotiable.

“There is no change. There will be no change,” Blinken said of NATO’s “open-door policy” for admitting additional nations.

“We make clear that there are core principles that we are committed to uphold and defend, including Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was “no secret” that the sides were far apart on reaching an agreement, citing “serious differences” between NATO and Russia.

Stoltenberg added it was important for them to talk and “try to identify political solutions where we can agree to prevent a new armed conflict in Europe, which will, of course, be extremely serious and something we all have to try to prevent.”

Lavrov asserted that the United States and NATO had previously agreed not to expand at the expense of Russia’s safety in the context of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“This principle is clearly stated. It has two main interrelated approaches. First, the right of every state to freely choose military alliances as recognized. Second: the obligation of each state not to strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others,” he said. “In other words, the right to choose alliances is clearly conditioned by the need to take into account the security interests of any other OSCE state, including the Russian Federation.”

Lavrov added, however, that the responses could lead to further discussions but only on secondary issues.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov echoed Lavrov’s concerns and said Russian President Vladimir Putin will not delay a reaction to the responses but said no immediate response should be expected, Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported.

“I cannot give a specific date. Clearly, no one will delay a reaction but it would be stupid to expect a reaction the next day,” Peskov said, noting it took the United States and Europe about a month to look over the documents Russia had presented them.


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