Russia denies responding to US proposal on Ukraine crisis

A Russian diplomat on Tuesday denied reports that Moscow sent Washington a written response to a U.S. proposal aimed at deescalating the Ukraine crisis.

The Kremlin is seeking legally binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO that Ukraine will never join the bloc, deployment of NATO weapons near Russian borders will be halted and the alliance’s forces will be rolled back from Eastern Europe.

The demands, rejected by NATO and the U.S. as nonstarters, come amid fears that Russia might invade Ukraine, stoked the buildup of an estimated 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine’s borders. Talks between Russia and the West have so far failed to yield any progress.

Washington has provided Moscow with a written response to the demands, and on Monday three Biden administration officials said that the Russian government sent a written response to the U.S. proposals.

But Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko on Tuesday told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency that this was “not true.”

The agency also cited an unnamed senior diplomat in the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to his Western colleagues, including U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken about “the principle of indivisibility of security,” but it wasn’t a response to Washington’s proposals.

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