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Lavrov: The United States is ready to respond to Russia’s proposals for NATO

Washington has vowed to respond in writing to proposed security guarantees from Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his US counterpart, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Speaking to reporters shortly after Friday’s meeting in the Swiss city of Geneva, Lavrov said the US side had made its initial position on the two draft agreements created by the Kremlin. “Blinken told me he was pleased with the exchange we had and assured us that it would help him give a written answer next week.” However, Lavrov added, at the moment “their reaction is only preliminary – we were warned about this.”

Asked if Russia planned to release the answer, the senior diplomat said the question should be asked of Blinken and the US side. Moscow initially made public its proposals and intentions for talks.

Lavrov also added that Ukraine’s demands not to join NATO were not a sign that Russia wanted to establish control over the “sphere of influence”, but an attempt to prevent the bloc from “sowing the seeds” of conflict in Eastern Europe.

In addition, Lavrov said the US side had pledged to help implement the Minsk agreements in order to end the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Moscow has previously accused Kiev of violating an agreement signed in 2014 by refusing to talk to separatist leaders of the two self-proclaimed autonomous “republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed that the breakaway regions are Russian vassals and has insisted on meeting with President Vladimir Putin instead.

Ahead of the discussions, Blinken warned that the chances of making significant progress were slim. “I do not expect anything spectacular,” he said, adding that the meeting would be a chance to “see what conclusions Russia has drawn from these diplomatic contacts.”

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