Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the US and Russia have agreed to begin talks on the security guarantees Moscow is seeking in January.
Russia submitted security proposals to the US last week amid simmering tensions surrounding Ukraine. Moscow wants guarantees that NATO won’t absorb Ukraine or expand further eastward and is looking for mutual agreements on the deployment of military assets in the region and the deployment of nuclear weapons.
“We don’t want a war,” Lavrov said. “We don’t want to take the path of confrontation. But we will firmly ensure our security using the means we consider necessary.”
Lavrov said he was happy with how the US has responded to the Russian proposals and hopes Moscow’s concerns will be taken seriously. “I hope that they will take us seriously given the moves we take to ensure our defense capability,” he said.
On Tuesday, Karen Donfried, the US assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, called some of the Russian proposals “unacceptable” but also said the US is ready to negotiate some of the issues.
“There are some things we’re prepared to work on, and we do believe there is merit in having discussion,” Donfried said. “There are other things in those documents that the Russians know will be unacceptable.”