Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, the State Department said Monday.
The call will be the first time the two diplomats have spoken since the US gave Russia a written response to its security proposals last week. Moscow’s primary concern is getting a guarantee that Ukraine won’t join NATO, but Blinken has said the alliance will maintain its “open door” policy.
Lavrov repeated Russia’s concerns on Monday and said NATO is trying to “pull” Ukraine into the alliance as it expands eastward. “It turns out each time that the line they are supposed to defend is moving further east. Now, it has already come close to Ukraine. They want to also pull this country into there,” he said.
While the US appears to be rejecting Russia’s demand, President Biden has made it clear Ukraine isn’t joining the alliance anytime soon. “The likelihood that Ukraine is going to join NATO in the near term is not very likely,” he said at a press conference on January 19th.
The US and Russia have both said there is room to work with each other on the issue of arms control and missile deployments in Europe. Russia is seeking a revival or a new version of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the US withdrew from in 2019. The INF banned the deployment of short and medium-range missiles.