Russia demands US, NATO response next week on Ukraine | NATO News

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was “impatient” after diplomatic talks failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Russia vigorously reiterated its demand that NATO not expand eastward, despite the military alliance’s refusal to do so amid a buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine.

On Friday, it added that it would not wait for a Western response indefinitely.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described Moscow’s demands that NATO will not expand or deploy forces in Ukraine and other former Soviet states as necessary to advance diplomatic efforts to defuse escalating tensions over Ukraine.

He said that the deployment of NATO forces and weapons near Russia’s borders is a security challenge that must be addressed immediately.

We have run out of patience,” Lavrov said at a press conference. “The West has been driven by arrogance and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”

Lavrov said Russia expected Washington and NATO to provide a written response to its demands next week.

Amid the tensions, Ukraine was hit by a large-scale cyber attack on Friday, targeting the websites of several government agencies.

This week’s negotiations in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels took place amid a large build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine that the West fears is a prelude to an invasion.

Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, has denied plans to attack its neighbor but has warned the West that NATO’s expansion into Ukraine and other former Soviet states is a “red line” that must not be crossed.

Washington and its allies vehemently rejected Moscow’s demand for security guarantees to prevent NATO expansion, but Russia and the West agreed to leave the door open for further potential talks on arms control and confidence-building measures aimed at reducing the potential for hostilities.

The negotiations took place when an estimated 100,000 Russian soldiers were massed with tanks and other heavy weapons near Ukraine’s eastern border.

The United States and its allies have urged Russia to de-escalate by withdrawing troops to its permanent bases, but Moscow has rejected the request, saying it is free to deploy troops on its soil wherever it deems necessary.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that troops stationed in eastern Siberia and the Far East region scrambled to move across the country as part of a surprise drill to check their “readiness to perform their tasks after redeploying at a great distance.”

“Special attention will be paid to assessing the country’s transportation infrastructure to ensure the movement of forces,” the ministry noted, adding that the forces will conduct live-fire exercises after the redeployment.

Russia seized Crimea after ousting the Moscow-friendly Ukrainian leader, and in 2014 also threw its weight behind a separatist armed uprising in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces.

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