Russia’s relations with the United States have not hit their lowest point yet and security proposals Moscow has made can help ease tensions, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Russia said on Friday it wanted a legally binding guarantee that NATO would give up any military activity in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, part of a wish list of security guarantees it wants to negotiate with the West.
It laid out for the first time in detail demands that it says are essential for lowering tensions in Europe and defusing a crisis over Ukraine.
“I think we did not hit the lowest point, thank God, and there is a progress in some aspects at the very least and not everything is hopeless,” Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying on Saturday.
Moscow needs stable and predictable relations with Washington, he said.
“The situation can be stabilized and improved with the help of such agreements. Without them the situation will remain extremely difficult and tense,” Ryabkov said, according to Interfax.
The Russian proposals were set out in two documents this week – a draft agreement with NATO countries and a draft treaty with the United States, both published by the foreign ministry.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that the United States is prepared for dialogue with Russia over its security demands and will present its own concerns.
Ukraine and the United States have said that Russia has moved more than 90,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and may be poised to invade, which Moscow denies.
“We do not want a conflict and we want to agree on a reasonable basis,” Ryabkov said. “Any diplomatic move, any proposal is … a test for negotiability.”
British foreign minister Liz Truss said late on Friday, after Russia made its demands on NATO, that Moscow’s military build-up on the borders of Ukraine was unprovoked and unjustified.
“Russia should take concrete steps to reduce tensions,” she said on Twitter.