Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he expects negotiations with the United States over Moscow’s security demands to begin in January, with growing concerns over the conflict in Ukraine.
Her comments come after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried told reporters on Tuesday that she also understands talks with Russia will begin in January, warning that some Russian proposals were “unacceptable” .
Moscow last week made massive security demands on the West in two draft documents, one addressed to NATO and the other to the United States.
“It was agreed that at the very beginning of next year, the first round (of talks) should be bilateral contact between our negotiators and the Americans,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian news network RT. .
Lavrov said plans were in place for these talks to be followed by negotiations between Russia and NATO, saying “we also want to do this in January.”
On Wednesday, the European Union called on the United States and NATO to defend its interests, saying in a statement: “Today, the security of Europe is threatened”.
Lavrov had warned the United States against extending negotiations and reaffirmed that if Russia does not want conflict, it is ready to take steps to defend itself.
“We hope that no one else sees conflict as a desirable scenario. We will rigorously ensure our security by whatever means we deem appropriate, ”Lavrov told a panel of RT reporters.
Russia has been accused by the West of planning an invasion of Ukraine. He denies the allegations and in turn demanded legal guarantees over his security from the United States and NATO, demanding that the alliance stop an eastward expansion.
Moscow last week presented its demands to the United States and NATO, saying the alliance must not admit new members or establish military bases in countries of the former Soviet Union.
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