US Rejects Russian Demands in Ukraine Crisis

'There is no change, there will be no change'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2022 4:57 PM CST
US, NATO Reject Russian Demands on Ukraine
In this image provided by the US Air Force, Senior Airman Zachary Kline, 436th Aerial Port Squadron cargo processor, prepares ammunition, weapons, and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 21, 2022.   (Mauricio Campino/U.S. Air Force via AP)

(Newser) – The Biden administration and NATO told Russia on Wednesday there will be no US or NATO concessions on Moscow's main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine. In separate written responses delivered to the Russians, the US and NATO held firm to the alliance’s open-door policy for membership, rejected a demand to permanently ban Ukraine from joining, and said allied deployments of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe are nonnegotiable, the AP reports. "There is no change, there will be no change," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Also not up for negotiation will be the US and European response to any Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said, repeating the mantra that any such incursion would be met with massive consequences and severe economic costs.

The responses were not unexpected and mirrored what senior US and NATO officials have been saying for weeks—but they and the eventual Russian reaction to them could still determine whether Europe will again be plunged into war. Seeking possible off-ramps that would allow Russia to withdraw the estimated 100,000 troops it has deployed near Ukraine’s border without appearing to have lost a battle of wills, the US response did outline areas in which some of Russia’s concerns might be addressed, provided it de-escalates tensions with Ukraine. Blinken told reporters that the letter US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan delivered Wednesday to the Russian Foreign Ministry included "proposals for areas where we may be able to find common ground." There was no immediate response from Russia.

Blinken said three shipments of military assistance, including Javelin missiles, had been sent to Ukraine this week. "There should be no doubt about our seriousness of purpose when it comes to diplomacy, and we're acting with equal focus and force to bolster Ukraine's defenses and prepare a swift united response to further Russian aggression," he said, per the BBC. He added: "It remains up to Russia to decide how to respond. We're ready either way." (The Pentagon said Monday that 8,500 US troops have been placed on high alert.)

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