Written responses from the United States and NATO addressing Russia’s security demands have left “little ground for optimism,” the Kremlin said on Thursday, suggesting the West’s latest diplomatic effort was unlikely to deescalate tensions along Ukraine’s border.
“We can’t say that they took our concerns into account or showed any readiness to take our concerns into consideration,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to the Russian government-owned news agency TASS.
Still, Peskov said that “there always are prospects for continuing a dialogue” about the ongoing security situation because “it’s in the interests of both us and the Americans,” according to additional remarks reported by the Associated Press.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that although the U.S. written response could result in “the start of a serious talk on secondary issues,” the document “contains no positive response on the main issue.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that he would not make public the details of the written response, but he insisted that Washington had not reversed its positions on Moscow’s major requests: that NATO pull back its presence in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, and that Ukraine and Georgia be permanently barred from joining the military alliance.
“Without going into the specifics of the document, I can tell you that it reiterates what we’ve said publicly for many weeks and, in a sense, for many years,” Blinken said at a news conference. “That we will uphold the principle of NATO’s ‘open door,’ and that’s … a commitment that we’re bound to.”
Following a meeting with Lavrov in Geneva last Friday, Blinken pledged to present Russia with a written record of Washington’s concerns about Moscow’s behavior and proposals to end the security situation sometime this week. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered the document to Moscow on Wednesday.
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