US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said today that Washington’s written response to Russia’s demands for security guarantees paves the way for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, if Moscow takes it seriously, and that the United States is trying to prevent a military escalation against Ukraine.
Blinken said the document, delivered to Russia today, contained a “principled and pragmatic” assessment of Russia’s demands, adding that the response was fully coordinated with Ukraine and Washington’s European allies.
“In general, this is a serious diplomatic step forward if Russia decides to do so,” Blinken said, adding that he expected talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to continue in the coming days.
Blinken added that the US response to Russia’s demands reflects Washington’s view that it is open to dialogue and prefers diplomacy, but that it depends on Russia and its response.
He warned that the United States would be ready in any case.
Washington has made it clear that meeting Russia’s demands for NATO to withdraw troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and to ban Ukraine from ever joining the Alliance is out of the question. He also said he was ready to discuss other topics, such as arms control and confidence-building measures.
Russia’s relations with NATO and the United States have been strained since Russia deployed about 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, encircling the country with forces from the north, east and south. Russia denies planning an invasion.
Blinken also said today that there would be no change in the US position on NATO’s open door policy.