Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the United States had provided written responses to Russian demands. He said it was up to the Kremlin to decide how to proceed amid increasing tensions between Moscow & Ukraine.
In December, Russia issued a list with demands, including a promise not to admit Ukraine into NATO and to withdraw troops. This was despite Russia continuing to build troops close to the Ukraine border. There are increasing concerns that Moscow might order an invasion.
Blinken stated that the administration will not release the document publically because it believes diplomacy has the best chance of success if there is space for confidential talks.
Blinken stated that the document made “clear” the core principles the United States is committed to defending, “including Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and states’ rights to choose their security arrangements and alliances.”
Blinken stated that the ideas were presented because they could be negotiated in good-faith to increase our security and that our allies and partners, as well as address Russia’s concerns through reciprocal promises. “We’re open to dialogue. We prefer diplomacy and are open to dialogue if Russia stops its aggression against Ukraine and ceases the inflammatory rhetoric.
Blinken stated that the U.S. response was “fully coordinated” with Ukraine and with our European allies, partners, and allies with whom we have been consulting continuously for several weeks.
He said that they sought their feedback and included it in the final version sent to Moscow. NATO also developed and will deliver to Moscow its paper with “ideas, concerns, and security collective in Europe”.
Blinken stated that the State Department had shared its responses with Congress and said he would brief congressional leaders Wednesday afternoon on the responses to discuss their “approach”.
Blinken stated that he plans to meet with Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, in the next few days after Moscow has had a chance to review the paper and is open to discussing the next steps.
Blinken stated that there should be no doubt about the seriousness of our purpose in diplomacy. He also said that we are acting with equal force and focus to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and to prepare a rapid, united response to any further Russian aggression.
Blinken stated that actions were taken by the Biden administration in the last week “have sharpened Russia’s choice.
An official stated that Americans living in Ukraine should consider “strongly considering leaving the country using private or commercial transportation options.” He also noted that the U.S. Embassy is available to assist them “if they require it.”
Sunday’s order by the State Department for the evacuation of American citizens living in Ukraine was issued. Officials also directed family members of U.S. Embassy employees to leave the country. After the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office had announced that it had information that suggested that the Russian government was planning to install a proKremlin leader at Kyiv, the decision was taken.
The United States delivered its responses to Russian demands just hours after six U.S.-flying fighter jets arrived in Estonia in support of the Baltic Air Policing Mission, as Russia continues to threaten to invade Ukraine.
These jets arrive at a time when President Biden is considering whether to send thousands of U.S. soldiers to Eastern Europe as part of a larger NATO effort to defend allied countries bordering Russia or Ukraine.
The NATO-wide effort would include troop deployment. NATO members may also send troops to warn Vladimir Putin against trying to invade neighboring countries.
Biden also plans to deploy naval vessels to NATO allies that may feel threatened as part of this effort. These proposed actions would involve some equipment and troops from Europe and others from the U.S.
NATO stated that it was “sending additional ships, fighter jets, and other aircraft” to Eastern Europe. F-16s from Denmark and naval forces from Spain are included. F-35s hail from the Netherlands. France is willing to send troops to Romania which borders Ukraine to its south.
Putin has been closely monitoring Ukraine’s territory for a long time, particularly in light of recent NATO considerations to allow Ukraine to join NATO. It is one of many post-Soviet republics that have shifted to an alliance with NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Putin cites Russian cultural and ethnic influences in Ukraine as reasons it should be part of Russia. This was an important part of Russia’s justification for illegally annexing Crimea in Ukraine in 2014.
NATO and the United States fortify allies, including Baltics, but it is unlikely that the Western alliance will send troops to Ukraine, where it could be subject to a major military conflict with Russia.