WASHINGTON, February 7. /TASS/. The United States is ready to continue dialogue on security with Russia but will opt for sanctions if the situation around Ukraine gets worse, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint news conference with visiting EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday.
"We are ready to continue a subsequent conversation with Russia on mutual security concerns. The diplomatic path is clear. At the same time, we and our allies are resolved that there will be real and profound consequences should Russia choose to continue aggression," he said.
On December 17, 2021, the Russian foreign ministry released a draft agreement on security guarantees between Russia and the United States and a draft agreement on ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states. The proposed measures include guarantees that NATO will not advance eastward, including the accession of Ukraine and other countries into the alliance, as well as non-deployment of serious offensive weapons, including nuclear ones. The sides have had several rounds of consultations in various formats but no agreements have yet been announced.
On January 26, the US and NATO handed over written responses to Russia on Moscow’s security guarantees that it was demanding from Washington and Brussels. The American side requested that the documents not be made public, although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg enumerated their basic provisions. According to these statements, the West did not make concessions to Russia considered to be critical but did indicate directions for further negotiations.
Recently, Western and Ukrainian media outlets have been echoing claims about possible Russian aggression against Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier slammed such statements as "empty and groundless" and their goal is to whip up tensions. He stressed that Russia doesn’t pose any threat to anyone, but did not rule out possible provocations to justify the remarks in question and warned that attempts at using force to settle the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have the most severe consequences.