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Russia Will Be ‘Forced to Respond’ if U.S. Does Not Engage on Security Demands

Russia first sent its list of demands to the U.S. and NATO last December. MFA Russia / flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0.)

Russia on Thursday said it will be “forced to respond” with military-technical measures if the United States does not agree to its security demands.

In an 11-page document presented to American officials, the Kremlin slammed the U.S. for not engaging with Russia’s security concerns and called for “legal guarantees” that Ukraine will never become a NATO member. 

“In the absence of any readiness from the American side to agree on firm, legally binding guarantees to ensure our security … Russia will be forced to respond, including through the implementation of military-technical measures,” the document says, according to text published by the state-run TASS news agency.

Western governments have boosted supplies of hi-tech military equipment to Ukraine since the standoff with Russia first escalated last year. Intelligence agencies have said Moscow has amassed up to 130,000 troops and that an invasion of Ukraine could be “imminent.” 

Moscow has denied it is planning an invasion of Ukraine, a statement it repeated in Thursday’s written responses.

"There is no 'Russian invasion' of Ukraine, which the United States and its allies have been announcing officially since last fall, and it is not planned," the document said.

Russia also called on the U.S. and NATO to “stop the supply of weapons to Ukraine, withdraw all Western advisers and instructors from the country, stop participating in joint exercises with Ukraine’s armed forces and withdraw all foreign weapons previously supplied to Kyiv.”

Moscow’s recent announcements of a troop drawdown have been met with skepticism. The U.S. and other NATO allies continue to warn of a possibly devastating Russian invasion and say they have seen little proof of Moscow’s announced withdrawal.

Russia first sent its list of demands to the U.S. and NATO last December. Western governments responded in January, but Moscow has said the answers “ignored” its key points.

Russia said its proposals were a “complete package” which could not be discussed individually. The U.S. had offered compromises on areas such as limits on missile deployments — an offer Russia dismissed on Thursday.

“The Russian proposals are of a package nature and should be considered in the whole, without focusing on individual components. As for the issue of arms control, we are considering them only in the general context of a comprehensive package approach to resolving the general problem of security guarantees,” the document said.

Russia also repeated its demands that the U.S. pull its troops out of all NATO countries that joined the alliance after 1997, such as the Baltic states and several other eastern and central European members.

Russia’s response came as it expelled the No. 2 U.S. diplomat in Moscow in another sign of potentially escalating tensions between the two countries. 

AFP contributed reporting.

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