By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON/ MOSCOW (Worthy News) – The United States made no concessions to Russia in a written response, despite Moscow threatening “retaliatory measures” if its security demands over Ukraine were not met, the U.S. top diplomat confirmed Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made clear to reporters that Ukraine will have the right to apply for membership of the NATO military alliance, something Russia opposes.
Blinken said the U.S. response, delivered to the Russian Foreign Ministry by U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, gave up no ground on “core principles” such as NATO’s open-door membership policy.
The letter also clarifies that NATO will maintain its military presence in Eastern Europe, despite Russia’s opposition, Blinken said.
But he claimed the written response to Russia also contains “serious” offers for a diplomatic path to “de-escalate” soaring tensions over Ukraine by addressing Russian concerns on other matters.
Yet there were no signs of tensions easing with Russia’s top diplomat saying Wednesday that Moscow would take “necessary retaliatory measures” if its security demands were not fulfilled.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told lawmakers, “If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures.”
He added: “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions,” indicating that Russia did not have unlimited patience in the current situation.
Russia has demanded that the U.S. and NATO deny Ukraine membership in the alliance.
Moscow also wants that the U.S.-led alliance and Ukraine roll back military deployments, among other guarantees.
Russia sent as many as 127,000 troops to near Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders to underscore its discontent, according to a Ukrainian intelligence assessment.
If they move deeper into the country — as Russia did in 2014 — it would be the largest such invasion since World War II, said U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
He has said he will not send U.S. troops to Ukraine, though a U.S. security diplomat told Worthy News American personnel is in the country.
Biden said he also put 8,500 service members on high alert for rapid deployment to NATO countries that border Ukraine.
However, they would add to thousands of American forces already in Eastern Europe, Worthy News learned.
The U.S. is also surging military aid to the besieged country, with Blinken confirming that Washington sent three shipments of military “assistance” this week.
The aid includes Javelin missiles and anti-armor weaponry, along with hundreds of tonnes of ammunition and equipment, he explained.
Blinken also denied any rift or difference of opinion between the U.S. and its European allies.
Hungary is among the most vocal allies opposing additional sanctions on Russia, saying Central and Eastern Europe are heavily dependent on Russian energy deliveries.
But the exact details of the US document will not be made public, Blinken stressed. “Diplomacy has the best chance to succeed if we provide space for confidential talks,” he added.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s document was also delivered to Moscow.
He echoed U.S. sentiments saying he was willing to listen to Russia’s concerns but that all nations, including Ukraine, had the right to choose their security arrangements.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Stoltenberg had “lost touch with reality” when asked about NATO boosting its presence near Russia’s borders. “You know, I stopped taking any view of his statements a long time ago,” Lavrov told reporters.
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