US offers no concessions in response to Russian demands-Blinken

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington has made no concessions to the main Russian demands over Ukraine and NATO.

Russia confirmed Wednesday it had received a written response from the U.S. to its demands including NATO’s withdrawal from eastern Europe,  a key issue of the tensions over Ukraine.

Russia want guarantees that NATO will stop its eastward expansion and not admit Ukraine and other former Soviet countries as members. It also wants the alliance to pull out military deployments in Romania and  Bulgaria.

The Secretary of State said  his country’s answer to Russia on Wednesday demonstrates the U.S. is standing by its principles. „There is no change, there will be no change,” he said.

But he added Washington’s proposals offered “a serious diplomatic path forward”.

The letter outlined areas where the U.S. has said it sees potential for progress with Russia, such as arms control, transparency and stability, he told reporters.

NATO has also delivered its response to Moscow. It described Russian demands as „unacceptable”.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there were areas where NATO and Moscow could cooperate, by reopening offices and increasing communication.

He said Russia should respect the rights of nations to choose their own security arrangements. He said Russia should withdraw its forces from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova where they were deployed without these countries’ consent.

Earlier Wednesday,  Russian Foreign Minister  Sergei Lavrov said he would advise President Vladimir Putin on the next steps after receiving a written reply from the U.S. to Moscow’s demands.

„If …. the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will, as the president has said on more than one occasion, take the necessary retaliatory measures,” he said.

Russia has repeatedly denied it intends to invade Ukraine. The U.S. and NATO members are concerned about an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders.

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