Updated Feb 1, 2022 - World

Russia delivers written response to U.S. proposal on Ukraine crisis

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the start of their meeting in Stockholm, on December 2.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a December meeting in Stockholm. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. officials have received a written response from Russia's government to the American proposal on de-escalating Ukraine border tensions, the State Department said on Monday.

Why it matters: The letter comes ahead of a Tuesday phone call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and as an estimated 100,000 troops from Moscow amassed at Ukraine's border raise concerns of an imminent Russian invasion.

What they're saying: "We can confirm we received a written follow-up from Russia," a State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

  • "It would be unproductive to negotiate in public, so we’ll leave it up to Russia if they want to discuss their response," the statement continued.
  • "We remain fully committed to dialogue to address these issues and will continue to consult closely with our Allies and partners, including Ukraine."

The intrigue: It's unclear whether Russia's written response was delivered before or after Monday's United Nations Security Council meeting — which saw Russian and U.S. officials trade barbs over the Ukrainian crisis.

  • Blinken has said the U.S. proposal offers the Kremlin "a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it," notes the Washington Post, which first reported news of the response.

Meanwhile, Moscow is taking a pessimistic stance publicly, with Lavrov saying last week that the Biden administration's written answers to Russia's security demands did not contain a "positive response" to the Kremlin's top priority: a freeze on NATO expansion.

Worth noting: The State Department ordered the family members of U.S. government staff in Belarus to evacuate earlier on Monday, citing the "unusual and concerning Russian military buildup along Belarus' border with Ukraine."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further details and context on the U.S. written proposal.

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