Russia demands US, NATO response next week on Ukraine
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Friday strongly reaffirmed its demand that NATO doesn't expand eastward despite the rejection of that by the military alliance amid a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Moscow wouldn't wait indefinitely for the Western response, saying he expects the U.S. and NATO to provide a written answer next week.
Lavrov described Moscow’s demands for binding guarantees that NATO will not embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations, or station its forces and weapons there as essential for the progress of diplomatic efforts to defuse soaring tensions over Ukraine.
He argued that the deployment of NATO forces and weapons near Russia’s borders poses a security challenge that must be addressed immediately.
“We have run out of patience,” Lavrov said at a news conference. “The West has been driven by hubris and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”
Amid the tensions, Ukraine sustained a massive cyberattack Friday, which hit websites of multiple government agencies.
This week's negotiations in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels were held amid a significant Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that the West fears might be a prelude to an invasion.
Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, has denied having plans to attack its neighbor but warned the West that NATO's expansion to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations is a “red line” that mustn't be crossed.
Washington and its allies firmly rejected Moscow's demand for security guarantees precluding NATO's expansion, but Russia and the West agreed to leave the door open to possible further talks on arms control and confidence-building measures intended to reduce the potential for hostilities.