On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the US’s written answers to Moscow’s security proposals did not contain a “positive response” to the issue of NATO expansion.
“There is no positive reaction in this document on the main issue. The main issue is our clear-cut position on the inadmissibility of NATO’s further eastward expansion and the deployment of strike armaments that may threaten the territory of the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.
The US and NATO both submitted their proposals to Russia on Wednesday night. The full contents of the documents have not been made public, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO’s “open door” policy would not change.
Lavrov said that while the NATO concerns are not addressed, the US response makes it possible for the two powers to begin a “serious talk” on secondary issues, such as arms control and missile placement in Eastern Europe.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made similar comments and said that Russia “cannot say that our thoughts have been taken into account or that a willingness has been shown to take our concerns into account.” Peskov said there’s still room for dialogue with the US, but that the response left “little ground for optimism.”
Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin will now decide on what the next steps are and how Russia will respond to the US. Blinken said Wednesday that he expects to meet Lavrov again “in the coming days” to continue talks on the security issues.