Earlier this week, Russia’s Foreign Ministry handed a list of demands to visiting U.S. diplomat Karen Donfried.
The list included demands that would reduce NATO’s influence over post-Soviet states. The demands urged NATO to abandon all military activities in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia. Moreover, Russia also demanded a guarantee from NATO that it would not allow Ukraine to join NATO in the future.
On Monday, a senior diplomat from Russia said that Russia demands immediate talks with the United States on the aforementioned security guarantees from NATO.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov, said: “We need (answers) urgently since the situation is serious and may get more complicated.” Moreover, President Vladimir Putin’s chief arms control negotiator warned of a “military response” if NATO did not sufficiently meet the demands.
Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian Delegation to the Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, was also quoted as saying, “Everyone in NATO understands well that, despite all [its] strength and power, it needs to take concrete political actions. Otherwise, the alternative is a military-technical and military response from Russia.”
Earlier this week, Russia also deployed two Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable strategic bombers and Su-30SM fighter jets to patrol over its ally: Belarus. Officials in Kyiv have also expressed fears that Moscow could use Belarusian territory to support a future attack on Ukraine.
Moscow has already increased the pressure on Ukraine and NATO, with Russia amassing a force expected to be nearly 200,000 next year near its border with Ukraine. Russia has also recently cut gas supply to Europe amidst an energy crisis. These moves have been met with criticism from NATO and several other Eastern European countries.