US rejects Russia demands on Ukraine - RTHK
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US rejects Russia demands on Ukraine

2022-01-27 HKT 04:12
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  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he would speak again in the coming days to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: AP
    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he would speak again in the coming days to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: AP
The United States on Wednesday rejected Russia's demand to bar Ukraine from Nato and said it believed Moscow was ready to invade but offered what it called a new "diplomatic path" out of the crisis.

One month after Russia put forward sweeping security proposals, having sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine's border, the United States delivered a reply in coordination with Nato allies and said it was ready for any eventuality.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would speak again in the coming days to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whom he met on Friday in Geneva, amid a separate diplomatic initiative led by France.

"It sets out a serious diplomatic path forward should Russia choose it," Blinken told reporters of the US response, which he said would remain confidential.

He renewed an offer on "reciprocal" measures to address mutual security concerns including reductions of missiles in Europe and transparency on military drills and Western aid to Ukraine.

But he made clear that the United States would not budge on Russia's core demand that Ukraine never be allowed to join Nato, the US-backed military alliance.

"From our perspective, I can't be more clear – Nato’s door is open, remains open, and that is our commitment," Blinken said.

Russia, which has a complicated historical relationship with Ukraine, has fueled an insurgency in the former Soviet republic's east that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

Russia that year also seized Crimea after the overthrow of a government in Kyiv that had pushed back on efforts to move closer to Europe.

The United States has warned of severe and swift consequences if Russia invades, including possible personal sanctions on President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)