MOSCOW (AP) — Russia maintained a tough posture Wednesday amid the tensions over its troop buildup near Ukraine, with a top diplomat warning that Moscow will accept nothing less but “watertight” U.S. guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation at the security talks with the U.S. in Geneva last week, reaffirmed that Moscow has no intentions of invading Ukraine as the West fears, but said that receiving Western security guarantees is an imperative for Moscow.
The talks in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels last week were held as Russia has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in what the West fears might herald an invasion.
Amid the soaring tensions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine on Wednesday to reassure it of Western support in the face of what he called “relentless” Russian aggression. In Strasbourg, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the European Union to quickly draw up a new security plan containing proposals to help ease tensions with Russia.