Russia has ruled out any further talks with the United States and NATO over the situation around Ukraine unless the West responds properly to its security demands.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the remark at a joint press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Tuesday, saying Moscow wanted answers on its security proposals before engaging in further discussions over Ukraine.
“We are now awaiting responses to these proposals — as we were promised — in order to continue negotiations,” he said.
“Let’s hope these talks will continue,” Lavrov added.
Tensions are rising on the Russian-Ukrainian border, with the US, Ukraine, and several other Western countries accusing Russia of planning “an invasion” of Ukraine amid a military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegations and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.
Last month, the Russian government made demands on NATO and Ukraine about the future of their relationship, calling on the Western military alliance to deny Ukraine membership to NATO and to roll back its military deployments.
Moscow also proposed that the US not establish any military bases in former Soviet states that are not part of NATO, nor develop a bilateral military alliance with them.
Washington has rejected the proposals as “non-starters.”
Russia has repeatedly warned that Moscow will act if the US-led NATO military alliance crosses its red lines in Ukraine.
Russia held a series of diplomatic meetings with US and its NATO allies last week in Geneva, Brussels, and Vienna over the Ukraine crisis. During the talks, the Russian representatives reiterated Moscow’s demand for security guarantees to be taken seriously.
The latest development comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is preparing to fly to Kiev for talks on Wednesday. The State Department announced that Blinken would meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky to “reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Blinken will later head to the German capital, Berlin, on Thursday for four-way talks with Britain, France, and Germany on the Ukraine crisis, the department’s spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
In a call with Lavrov ahead of his trip, Blinken “stressed the importance of continuing a diplomatic path to de-escalate tensions,” Price said in a separate statement.
Meanwhile, US envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has stressed in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday that talks with Russia have not broken down, adding that Washington is “continuing to engage” with Moscow.
“We’re still talking to the Russians. But we’re also watching their actions, and we’re watching their actions very, very closely,” she said.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)