Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow has presented the US with security proposals in a bid to ease tensions in the region surrounding Ukraine.
Russia passed the proposals to Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried, who met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow on Wednesday. It’s not yet clear exactly what Russia proposed, but Putin has said he wants guarantees that NATO won’t expand further eastward or send troops and missiles into Ukraine.
Putin also wants NATO to rescind its promise that Ukraine will eventually become a member of the military alliance. Last week, The Associated Press reported that US State Department officials told Ukraine that a NATO membership is unlikely to be approved within the next decade.
Donfried said she would be sharing Russia’s proposals with US allies. “Ryabkov asked to meet with me to share Moscow’s proposals on European security. I will take these ideas back to Washington and also share them with our allies and partners,” she said.
Russia is eager to work out the security guarantees, and Putin said he wants to “immediately launch negotiations” with the US and NATO. “The president expressed hope that the Americans and NATO members will respond positively to this,” Putin’s aide Yury Ushakov said, according to Interfax.
Putin held virtual talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday, and the Russian leader said Xi supports the push for security guarantees. “The Chinese president stressed that he … fully supports our initiative to develop appropriate security guarantees for Russia,” Ushakov said.