The United States has rejected Russian president, Vladimir Putin’s demand to bar Ukraine from ever joining Transatlantic military alliance, NATO, amid fears Russia wants to invade Ukraine, it’s neighbor.
Russia had issued a written list of its concerns about the expansion of the Nato military alliance and related security issues.
Among them was a demand for Nato to rule out the possibility of Ukraine and others ever joining the alliance.
In recent weeks, Russia has been amassing over hundred thousand troops on the Ukraine border – something which Western countries have seen as preparation for a possible invasion. But Russia denies it wants to invade rather claiming Russia is threatened by Ukraine.
Now the US, on behalf of NATO has responded to Russia’s demands.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US will give Russia no concessions but said that he was offering Russia “a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it”.
According to Blinken the US is ready for whatever Russia decides to do, – an invasion or diplomacy.
Blinken said the US response made its “core principles” clear, including Ukraine’s sovereignty and its right to choose to be part of security alliances such as Nato.
“There should be no doubt about our seriousness of purpose when it comes to diplomacy, and we’re acting with equal focus and force to bolster Ukraine’s defences and prepare a swift united response to further Russian aggression,” he said.
“It remains up to Russia to decide how to respond,” he added. “We’re ready either way.”
The secretary of state said the US had sent three shipments of military “assistance” this week – including Javelin missiles and anti-armour weaponry, along with hundreds of tonnes of ammunition and equipment.
Russia’s foreign ministry says thr country would study Blinken’s response, delivered in coordination with Nato.
Blinken also denied any rift or difference of opinion between the US and its European allies such as Germany , Italy and France who are very dependent on Russia for energy and gas supplies. Nato, he said, had prepared its own set of proposals which “fully reinforces ours and vice versa”.
But Blinken said the US document stating its reply to Russia will not be made public.
“Diplomacy has the best chance to succeed if we provide space for confidential talks,” the Secretary of State said.
Nato Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s document had also been delivered to Moscow, and while he was willing to listen to Russia’s concerns, all nations havs the right to choose their own security arrangements.
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said Stoltenberg had “lost touch with reality”.
“You know, I stopped taking any view of his statements a long time ago,” Lavrov told the press in Russian parliament, which were broadcast live on social media.