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Amid tense negotiations between NATO allies and Russia over the conflict with Ukraine, the Kremlin said it would be “forced to respond, including through the implementation of military-technical measures” if its American counterpart does not guarantee security in the crisis and stick to its demands.
In an 11-page document presented to U.S. officials, the Kremlin criticized the United States for failing to engage with Russia’s security concerns and called for “legal guarantees” that Ukraine will never become a NATO member.
“In the absence of the readiness of the American side to agree on firm, legally binding guarantees to ensure our security from the United States and its allies, Russia will be forced to respond, including through the implementation of military-technical measures,” the document said, according to the text published by the news agency TASS.
Russia suspects that if Ukraine joins NATO, the former Soviet republic would attempt to retake Crimea, annexed by Putin in 2014, with the military assistance of Western allies, resulting in a war scenario.
Moscow insists it has no intention of invading Ukraine. “There is no and is not planned any ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine, which the United States and its allies have been declaring at the official level since autumn last year,” the document also reads.
As such, Russia demands that Washington withdraw all units and weapons from Russia’s vicinity, including Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, or else it will take action.
In exchange for withdrawing troops or limiting the deployment of American missiles and military exercises, the White House demands that Moscow withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border.
While American officials and NATO members warn of an “imminent” invasion of Ukraine, Russia has already amassed nearly 130,000 troops on the border and Western allies have increased supplies of high-tech military equipment to their allied country.
An “extremely dangerous” situation between Russia and Ukraine
Separately, the UN warned Thursday that the situation regarding Ukraine is “extremely dangerous” and called on the parties to resolve tensions through diplomatic measures.
“Speculation and allegations abound about a possible military conflict. Whatever one believes about the prospect of such a confrontation, the reality is that the current situation is extremely dangerous,” the Organization’s Under-Secretary-General for political affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said in a Security Council meeting.
DiCarlo called for the implementation of the Minsk Protocol agreements, the diplomatic arrangements adopted since 2014 to try to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the parties have been in dispute for nearly eight years, and insisted that “there is no alternative to diplomacy.”
The American diplomat said she was concerned about “information of new violations of the ceasefire through the contact line during the last hours,” and noted that, if confirmed, they must stop immediately. “We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint at this sensitive time,” DiCarlo insisted.
DiCarlo’s call comes in response to mutual accusations between Ukraine and Russia of ceasefire violations in recent hours in the conflict in the east.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, changed his plans at the last minute to participate in the Security Council meeting, where he contradicted Russia again and insisted that he has information that an invasion of Ukraine “could begin at any time,” as Jake Sullivan had already announced a few days ago.