Russia Views US Statements About Potentially Sending Troops to Eastern Europe as Provocative
05:55 GMT 15.12.2021 (Updated: 07:25 GMT 15.12.2021)
© AFP 2022 / DIMITAR DILKOFFThis picture taken on March 18, 2021, shows the Kremlin towers in front of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters. - Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 18 mocked Joe Biden for calling him a "killer" -- saying "it takes one to know one" -- as ties between Moscow and Washington sunk to new lows. US President Biden's comments sparked the biggest crisis between Russia and the United States in years, with Moscow recalling ambassador and warning that ties were on the brink of outright "collapse."
During a phone conversation with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to immediately begin negotiations to hammer out clear-cut agreements that would rule out NATO's eastward expansion.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has told Sputnik that the White House's statement about the US contemplating sending troops to Eastern Europe in the event of an aggravation of the situation around Ukraine is a "provocative signal".
"[…] It is unclear why the US administration is doing this, instead of focusing on an alternative way to strengthen security, which was offered by Russia in the form of the guarantees that were earlier mentioned", Ryabkov stated.
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The Russian deputy foreign minister is due to meet US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried in Moscow later on Wednesday to discuss the idea of security guarantees.
"We will listen to what they tell us, in what form. We expect, however, that practical interest will be shown and there will be no surge of negativity, which was observed in many Russian proposals in the past", Ryabkov said.
The statement follows White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki telling a news briefing that Washington is considering sending US troops to Eastern Europe if the situation over Ukraine deteriorates.
The statement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin's telephone conversation with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, during which Putin underscored "the need to immediately begin negotiations with a view to work out clear, international legal agreements that would rule out any further NATO advance to the east and the deployment of weapons that threaten Russia in neighbouring states, especially Ukraine", according to a statement released by the Kremlin.
The statement added that the Russian president had pointed out that NATO continues the active military "development" of Ukraine, which threatens the security of Russia.
12 December 2021, 02:01 GMT
In a separate development on Monday, Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik that "the Americans are inexplicably fixated on the idea that there is a threat of a 'Russian invasion' of Ukraine".
"This is not the case and cannot be. And what we are doing on our territory simply does not concern them, they have neither the moral nor the political right to raise the issue", the Russian deputy foreign minister emphasised.
The remarks were preceded by Vladimir Putin telling his US counterpart Joe Biden during last week's virtual meeting that Russian troops are deployed on Russian territory and do not pose a threat to anyone, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The US and its Western allies have repeatedly accused Moscow of a military buildup near Russia's border with Ukraine, purportedly indicating that the Kremlin is preparing for an invasion.
Russia denies the accusations, saying that NATO's military activity near Russia's borders poses a threat to the country's security and that Moscow reserves the right to move the nation's troops on its own territory.