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Russia expects US to seriously study Moscow’s response to Washington’s reply

Moscow is hoping that the West will stop hysteria over a purportedly planned attack on Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said

UNITED NATIONS, February 18. /TASS/. Russia hopes for the US side’s profound and serious analysis of Moscow’s response to a US paper on security guarantees, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told reporters on Thursday.

"We hope that the consideration of our written response will be profound and serious," he said.

Vershinin stressed that Russia has the sovereign right to worry about its national security and to deploy troops on its territory wherever necessary to defend the state.

The Russian Foreign Ministry published the response in full on its website on Thursday. As the ministry reported, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan received the document on the same day.

On January 26, the United States and NATO handed over their written reply to Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees. The US side requested that the texts of these documents should not be published. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined their basic provisions. These statements suggest that the West has refused to make concessions fundamental for Moscow, but indicated areas for further negotiations.

"Stop hysteria"

Russia is hoping that the West will stop hysteria over a purportedly planned attack on Ukraine, Vershinin said.

His comments were broadcast on Rossiya-24 television.

"We are now looking at our partners in Western countries and expect that they will tone down this hysteria regarding Russia’s intentions in the region," he said.

Russia favors a diplomatic solution of the situation around Ukraine, Vershinin said.

"I believe in diplomacy, and I am glad that our partners also believe in diplomacy. Undoubtedly, we should do everything we can to find a diplomatic, peaceful solution to this internal Ukrainian crisis," he said.

"Ukraine attack"

Some states are ‘helpfully offering’ Russia various military scenarios for attacking Ukraine, but these are just words aiming to hinder the process of the negotiations on security guarantees, Vershinin said.

"Some [parties] are helpfully offering us various military scenarios. The US Secretary of State [Antony Blinken] also engaged in it, naming some provocations as pretexts for attacking Ukraine," the senior diplomat noted.

"The goal is obvious to us - [they] seek to hinder the negotiations on the long-term legally binding security guarantees for our country <…>. We are ready for a serious dialogue, not imitation of it," Vershinin said.

Russia is not devising plots or searching for pretexts to attack Ukraine, Vershinin said.

"No one is searching for any pretext for hostile actions. As we have already said before, we have no aggressive plans," he said.

He also suggested that journalists examine photo and video evidence of the Kiev government’s violence in Donbass, presented by Russia during the latest UN Security Council meeting.

"I call upon everyone to take a look, but it would be hard, because of extreme cruelty [of those actions]," he added.

Ukrainian conflict

Attempts to portray Russia as a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine are not backed by any facts, Vershinin said.

"Attempts to shift the responsibility onto Russia, to portray it as a party to the conflict, are unfounded and baseless," he said.

The minister also expressed his disappointment by how the West treats Kiev’s reluctance to implement the Minsk agreements, comparing this stance to ostriches sticking their heads in the sand.

"We are extremely disappointed by - to put it mildly - the ostrich-like stance of our Western partners, who turn a blind eye to those evident facts," the deputy minister said.

The West and Kiev have been echoing allegations about Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these claims as "empty and unfounded", serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, pointing out that Russia did not pose any threat whatsoever to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such claims and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have serious consequences.