Biden admin to send written responses to Russia as early as Wednesday
“I think for a number of reasons, this is not the kind of thing I would expect to see in a written response from the United States,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday. when asked if the United States would include a characterization of likelihood. whether or not Ukraine will join NATO, which US President Joe Biden made in public remarks last week.
The proposal will set out general areas in which the United States is ready to work with Russia, which American officials have already clearly identified: arms control, greater transparency, risk reduction and placement of missile systems. The details will go “a bit further” than what the United States has said publicly, senior administration officials have explained.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Wednesday that depending on the content of that response, which he said is “expected this week,” Russian officials will prepare “proposals for the president.” [Putin] regarding our next steps.”
US officials believe the ideas they formalize in writing could trigger negotiations with Russia, but said that would only happen if Putin decided to engage. The Biden administration has said the response will be shared with Russia sometime this week as Russia continues to build up its military presence along Ukraine’s borders.
The purpose of providing the response in written form — a request Russia has made since it presented written ideas in December — is to fuel the diplomacy that the United States hopes will deter a Russian invasion of the Ukraine, State Department officials said.
The United States does not plan to make the proposal public, but US officials acknowledge that Russia is highly likely to release the full document after receiving it.
The United States has consulted with allies, including Ukraine, in recent weeks as it crafts its proposal. That’s one of the reasons the United States is not providing a written response so far, administration officials said.
“We have consulted extensively with our allies and partners, and of course with respect to that last category, that includes Ukraine,” Price said Tuesday. “We not only briefed them and gave them an overview of the contents of this report, but we actually explicitly solicited their feedback and incorporated that feedback into our report. So there will be no surprises. There will be no surprises for NATO. . There will be no surprises for our European allies. There will be no surprises for our Ukrainian partners.”
But some allies and experts are skeptical about the importance that should be given to this document from the United States, since it should not give rise to negotiations on the main demands of Russia, and one fears that Moscow is using the US response as a pretext. say that diplomacy has failed.
The senior State Department official acknowledged that such “pessimism may be right, but it’s you who sees the glass half full or half empty, and whether you think there’s a possibility to have that end by some sort of diplomatic denial, we’re going to try that and see if there’s room for it.”
Blinken said in Geneva that US and Russian officials would meet again after the written proposal is transmitted to Russia.