Russia wants 'mutually respectful' ties with US: Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they "do not want to remain in a position where our security is infringed daily". PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday (Jan 30) that Moscow wants "mutually respectful" relations with Washington, as the two countries remain at loggerheads over Ukraine.

"We want good, equal, mutually respectful relations with the United States, like with every country in the world," Mr Lavrov told Russia's Channel One.

"Learning from bitter experience, we do not want to remain in a position where our security is infringed daily," he added.

Tensions have soared between Russia and the United States after Western governments accused Moscow of amassing 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine.

Washington has warned that Russia could invade at any moment, while Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky called on his Western allies to avoid stirring "panic".

Citing the encroachment of NATO near its eastern border, Russia has put forward security demands to Washington and the US-led military alliance.

These include a guarantee that NATO will not admit new members, in particular Ukraine, and the United States will not establish new miliary bases in ex-Soviet countries.

Mr Lavrov said on Sunday that NATO's line of defence "continues moving eastwards" and has come "very close" to Ukraine.

He added that ex-Soviet Ukraine "is not ready" to join the alliance and "would make no contribution to strengthening NATO security".

Following a flurry of diplomatic efforts, Washington and NATO presented Moscow with a written response to the proposals.

Russia said the replies, which were not made public, did not address its main concerns but did not rule out further talks.

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