Will be forced to respond if security demands not met: Russia

Joe Biden says a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen ‘in the next several days’

February 17, 2022 10:23 pm | Updated 10:23 pm IST

The U.S. handed back a response rejecting key Russian demands, including a ban on Ukraine joining NATO and clauses limiting Western influence in eastern Europe and former Soviet states.

The U.S. handed back a response rejecting key Russian demands, including a ban on Ukraine joining NATO and clauses limiting Western influence in eastern Europe and former Soviet states. | Photo Credit: AP

Russia announced on Thursday it could respond militarily if Washington does not meet its security demands and said it wanted all U.S. troops out of eastern and central Europe.

"In the absence of will on the American side to negotiate firm and legally binding guarantees on our security from the U.S. and its allies, Russia will be forced to respond, including with military-technical measures," the Foreign Ministry said.

The U.S. handed back a response rejecting key Russian demands, including a ban on Ukraine joining NATO and clauses limiting Western influence in eastern Europe and former Soviet states.

In its formal follow up on Thursday, Russia also said it insists “on the withdrawal of all U.S. armed forces in central Europe, eastern Europe and the Baltics”.

Moscow also made two separate announcements on Thursday that it was returning military forces to bases after completing war games that had spurred Western fears of an attack.

‘Misleading the world’

However, NATO allies accused Russia of misleading the world with “disinformation” by saying it was returning some troops to bases. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was concerned "that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine."

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday said the threat of a Russian invasion was “very high” despite Moscow’s claims of troop pullback.

The threat is "very high, because they have not moved any of their troops out. They've moved more troops in”, Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House. “We have reason to believe they're engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in."

"Every indication we have is that they're prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine," he said. "My sense is it will happen in the next several days."

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