Status: 01.02.2022 1:19 p.m
The Kremlin has denied responding in writing to US proposals to escalate the Ukraine crisis. Accordingly, Foreign Minister Lavrov is said to have sent a message to the USA, but this was not an answer.
Russia has denied having responded in writing to US responses to Russian security demands in the Ukraine conflict. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the Russian state agency Ria Novosti that this was “not true.”
The news agency also quoted an unnamed senior diplomat at Russia’s Foreign Ministry as saying that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had sent a message on the “principle of the indivisibility of security” to his Western counterparts, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. However, this was not an answer to Washington’s proposals.
The US government had previously said it had received a written response from Russia to proposals to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict. The US State Department also confirmed receipt of the letter.
Rejection of demanded end to NATO expansion
Last week, the US government sent Russia written answers to Moscow’s concerns about security in Europe. In it, according to Blinken, she had again rejected the Russian demand for binding commitments to end NATO expansion.
The paper itself was not published. But it also contains “positive things” that should be pursued. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US colleague Blinken now want to talk on the phone about the current crisis situation.
The US and NATO suspect Russian President Vladimir Putin of planning an invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The Kremlin rejects this.
UN Security Council session
The UN Security Council also met on Monday to discuss the Ukraine conflict – against Russia’s resistance. At the start of the meeting, US President Joe Biden again called on Russia to seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebensia accused the US of wanting to “foment hysteria” with the public session of the Security Council. Russia does not want to start a war in Ukraine even if demands for security guarantees from NATO and the USA should fail. “I can rule that out,” he said, according to the Interfax agency.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced before a visit to Ukraine that he wanted to provide the country with more financial support. With the equivalent of around 105 million euros, they want to help Ukraine to become less dependent on Russian gas and to strengthen anti-corruption initiatives.
They call on Russia to find a diplomatic solution and “avoid further bloodshed.” However, a direct phone call between Johnson and Putin has been postponed until further notice, as Johnson had to justify his lockdown parties in parliament.
Pentagon: More Russian troop deployment
According to the US government, Russia has further strengthened its troops on the border with Ukraine. “Over the weekend, more Russian ground forces deployed in Belarus and on the border with Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. In addition, one observes increasing naval activities in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
It’s “nothing hostile,” Kirby said. “But they’ve got more ships, they’re practicing at sea, they’re definitely increasing the skills that they have at sea when they need them.” Referring to US President Joe Biden’s announcement that additional US troops would soon be deployed to the Eastern European NATO countries because of the Ukraine crisis, Kirby said: “One option available to us is the deployment of US forces, who are already in Europe. You don’t necessarily have to fly in troops from the US or anywhere else.”
US soldiers on high alert
Tens of thousands of US soldiers are regularly stationed in Europe, including around 35,000 in Germany, even outside of times of crisis. On Biden’s orders, 8,500 soldiers in the United States had been put on increased standby to enable rapid deployment if necessary.
Crisis session in the UN Security Council
Christiane Meier, ARD New York, daily news at 12:00 p.m., February 1, 2022
Kirby said these are additional troops. The Pentagon spokesman did not say when or how many US soldiers should be transferred to where. However, he reiterated that no US soldiers would be sent to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in front of the parliament that Ukraine wants to increase its armed forces by 100,000 men in the next three years.