The United States has formally rejected Russia’s demand to bar Ukraine from joining the NATO alliance.
The formal response comes amid warnings that Russia may soon stage a military invasion of its neighbor.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave Russia the response to its demands. Blinken gave no concessions on the particular issue, but did emphasize that a diplomatic path forward was very much being offered, and it is Russia’s decision whether to take it.
Blinken said that the formal response made it clear that the U.S. has core principles in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine situation. One is that Ukraine maintains its sovereignty. Another is that Ukraine has a right to decide whether it will be a part of security alliances, including NATO.
Blinken’s counterpart, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said that President Vladimir Putin would be assessing the response from the United States. The spokesman for Putin, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the Kremlin would not be rushing its assessment, and would take its time to analyze the response.
The document was delivered by the U.S. in coordination with Nato. It does not address what Russia has labeled its “main concern,” which is the overall expansion of the Nato military alliance.
Lavrov said that despite this, the response has given hope that diplomatic conversations on secondary questions can begin.
Russia had issued a written list of its concerns and demands in relation to the ongoing and escalating Ukraine situation. Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops at its border with Ukraine, a move that Western countries fear is a preparation for a military invasion. Russia has continued to deny that it will take military action.
In preparation for the worst-case scenario, the U.S. and its allies have sent shipments of military “assistance” to Ukraine in recent weeks.