US rejects top Russian security request as Ukraine tensions soar
The United States and NATO rejected Russia’s request to bar Ukraine and other countries from joining the military alliance, but urged Moscow to continue talks on a political solution to defuse the conflict. rising tensions in Eastern Europe.
The West fears that Russia is planning a new, bigger invasion of Ukraine amid a buildup of more than 100,000 troops and powerful weapons to the north, south and east of its neighbor, which hopes to one day join the European Union and NATO.
The Kremlin has warned it will respond with ‘military-technical’ means if it is unhappy with the West’s response to a long list of security issues centering on a demand that NATO shut down to new members and withdraws from Eastern Europe.
“We make it clear that there are fundamental principles that we are committed to respecting and defending, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as the right of states to choose their own arrangements and alliances in matters of security,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. the United States and NATO have given written responses to Russia.
“We will respect NATO’s open door principle,” he said.
Mr Blinken said the document “establishes a serious diplomatic path if Russia chooses it”.
“The ball is in their court,” he said.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance and Russia were “distant” on key issues but that a political solution was “still possible”.
“Of course, while we hope and work for a good solution – de-escalation – we are also prepared for the worst,” he added.
The Kremlin said it had no plans to invade Ukraine and warned on Wednesday that a US threat to impose personal sanctions on President Vladimir Putin would be “politically destructive”.
Meanwhile, the ESB has confirmed that a “significant” amount of the coal used at its Moneypoint, Co Clare power plant comes from Russia. This reliance was raised in Cabinet this week as a potential issue if tensions over the situation in Ukraine escalate. The company is said to consider the possibility of sanctions as it considers its fuel supply options.
A number of large Russian warships have been spotted sailing towards Ireland ahead of a planned naval exercise some 130 nautical miles off Cork next month.
Military experts believe the flotilla, seen by the Norwegian Air Force, will take part in exercises in Ireland’s exclusive economic zone. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said Russia should cancel the planned drills, saying it would “show its goodwill” to want to defuse tensions at a time when there are worries about a possible war in Ukraine.