Russia: ‘Little Ground for Optimism’ in Response to the US

( Last week, the Kremlin delivered a written response to a US proposal aimed at de-escalating the ongoing crisis at the Ukraine border, according to an anonymous US official.

The State Department official confirmed last Monday that they had received Moscow’s written follow-up to the State Department’s hand-delivered proposal from the week before.

However, the official said it would be “unproductive to negotiate in public,” so the State Department was leaving it up to Russia to decide if they want to publicly discuss the contents of their response.

The official told The Hill that the US remains “fully committed to dialogue” to deal with the issues diplomatically and is continuing to work closely with US “allies and partners, including Ukraine.”

The State Department had hand-delivered its written response the previous week addressing the Kremlin’s demands that NATO provides guarantees that it would not expand further eastward and would not allow Ukraine to join as a member.

These conditions, however, are viewed as “nonstarters” by the United States.

While the contents of the State Department’s response were not disclosed, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the contents left “little ground for optimism.”

Peskov said the US letter didn’t include any positive response to the “main issue,” but there was room to expand on Russia’s other issues.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Blinken spoke over the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Before their discussion, Lavrov had indicated that Moscow was not prepared to engage in extended negotiations, saying the Kremlin would not permit its proposals to get “drowned in endless discussions.”

Representatives from Moscow and Washington faced off last week during a UN Security Council meeting where Biden’s Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Russia’s military build-up along Ukraine’s border strikes “at the very heart of the UN charter.” Thomas-Greenfield described the build-up as the largest “mobilization of troops in Europe in decades.”