Russian officials on Thursday said Moscow does not see many reasons for the United States and NATO to accept its demands amid heightened tensions near the Ukrainian border, coming after the Department of State provided a series of proposals to the Kremlin.
Both the U.S. and NATO sent written responses to Russia over security demands that would bar Ukraine from joining NATO or hosting U.S. military bases. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and began supporting separatist rebel groups in the Donbas.
“There is not much reason for optimism,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in response to the State Department and NATO responses. “It cannot be said that our considerations were taken into account or that any willingness to take into account our concerns was demonstrated.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added, would spend time analyzing the State Department’s responses.
“No matter how diametrically opposed our views sometimes are, dialogue is always needed,” he said.
The written U.S. and NATO responses were not made public, but both had already rejected those demands while expressing willingness to engage on other issues such as arms control, confidence-building measures, and limits on the size and scope of military exercises.
Western countries have warned of economic sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine, building on measures imposed since 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea and Russian-backed separatists began fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine.
Nonetheless, Russia considers the idea of an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia “unacceptable,” said Alexey Zaytsev, deputy spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, on Thursday.
“We have repeatedly stated that our country is not going to attack anyone,“ Zaytsev added. “We consider unacceptable even the idea of a war between our peoples. However, the overseas superiors of Ukraine think differently. It seems they intend to currently adhere to the scenario they invented.”
The Russian foreign ministry spokesman said the best way to reduce tensions was for NATO to withdraw forces from eastern Europe, but also sought to quash fears of a looming invasion.
“We have already repeatedly stated that our country does not intend to attack anyone. We consider even the thought of a war between our people to be unacceptable,” Zaytsev continued.
The TASS news agency quoted a senior Russian foreign ministry official, Vladimir Ermakov, as saying a nuclear missile crisis between Moscow and Washington was unavoidable without measures to ensure restraint and predictability.
Ermakov said Moscow believed Washington was preparing to deploy short- and intermediate-range missiles to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has said he will not send U.S. or allied troops to fight Russia in Ukraine but NATO has said it is putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times