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US response to rising tensions offers 'little optimism,' Russia says

Military Drills Russia
Posted at 7:27 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 07:27:31-05

MOSCOW — The Kremlin spokesperson says the U.S. rejection of Russia's main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine leaves little ground for optimism.

He added Thursday that dialogue was still possible.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken again reiterated warnings that any invasion of Ukraine would be met with a strong response.

“There is no change, there will be no change,” Blinken said.

Tensions have soared recently, as the United States and its NATO allies expressed fear that a buildup of about 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine signaled Moscow planned to invade.

Russia denies having any such designs — and has laid out a series of demands it says will improve security in Europe, including a promise that NATO will not extend an invitation to Ukraine and a guarantee that the alliance will remove troops from Eastern Europe.

But the U.S. and the Western alliance firmly rejected any concessions on Moscow's main points Wednesday. Many of Russia's demands are nonstarters for NATO, creating a stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.

All eyes are now on how Russia will respond.

In the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed frustration with the Soviet breakup of some countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. According to an Associated Press analysis, Putin sees those countries as part of a historic Russian linguistic and Orthodox motherland.

The Pentagon earlier this week ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert — marking a change to a more aggressive stance from the Biden White House.

In addition, NATO allies have begun transporting military equipment toward Ukraine. Denmark sent a frigate to the Baltic Sea and deployed F-16 war planes to Lithuania. Spain sent ships to join NATO's standing maritime force and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France said it stands ready to send troops to Romania.

Ukraine has tried to urge its citizens to remain calm and thwart fears of a potential Russian invasion. However, the U.S. has already ordered some of those staying at its embassy in Kyiv to leave the country.