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Both the United States and NATO handed over their responses to Russia over security guarantees, while Turkey offered to mediate to resolve the crisis.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it had completed the transfer of fighter jets to Belarus as part of training operations for the Russian Air Force.
For his part, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that his country had submitted its written response to Russia regarding the security guarantees demanded by Moscow, and that Washington would not publish the response publicly because it needed to open a space for diplomacy, as he described it.
The White House said that any sanctions that the United States might impose on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine would affect the personal interests of Putin and the Russian leadership.
And the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg announced, on Wednesday, that the alliance had handed Russia a written response to its proposals on mutual security guarantees with Europe.
Stoltenberg said – in a press conference – that NATO is a defensive alliance and we do not seek confrontation, but we cannot and will not give up principles regarding the security of our alliances and the security of Europe and North America.
Steltenberg stressed that NATO is extending its hand to Russia to try to find a political solution, calling for the establishment of an open line with Russia to reach an open dialogue on European security.
In its response today to the two draft agreements that Russia handed over to the United States and NATO last December, NATO rejected Russia’s demands to withdraw its soldiers and weapons from Eastern Europe and prevent Ukraine’s integration into the alliance.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday that Moscow would take “all necessary measures” unless constructive responses were obtained, and if the West continued its “aggressive policy.”
Western speculations of the invasion
“I have no idea if he made the final decision, but we certainly see all indications that Russia will use military force at some point, possibly (between) now and mid-February,” Wendy Sherman said during an online chat hosted by the Yalta European Strategy Forum. February”.
She stressed that the United States is “pressing for diplomacy”, but at the same time “preparing for the worst”, and said that Washington is “preparing for various scenarios”, from a “complete invasion” to “hybrid attacks, sabotage or coercion.”
In another sign of heightened fears, the US embassy in Ukraine on Wednesday urged its citizens to “consider leaving now,” warning that the situation “could deteriorate without warning.”
On the other hand, on Wednesday, Washington, in its written response to Moscow, refused to pledge to close the door of NATO to Ukraine, but at the same time proposed a “diplomatic path” to avoid a new war.
For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday – in a television interview – that “it would be foolish for Russia to attack Ukraine.”
Erdogan added that if Russia took such a step, his country would “do what is necessary as a member of NATO.”
He revealed that he invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey as part of a proposal to host the two sides to adopt the path of diplomacy and peace, noting that he expected a response from Moscow.
Erdogan also said, “There is a need for a comprehensive dialogue that addresses some of Russia’s security concerns, while making it clear to it that some of its demands are unacceptable.”
“I hope Russia will not attack or occupy Ukraine militarily. Such a move would be a foolish act for Russia and for the region alike… There is a need for a dialogue that will make Russia listen and remove its rational security concerns,” he added.