Russia seeks Nato security guarantees amid Ukraine tensions

(Update 1: re-ledes, adds detail, alters headline)

Moscow, Dec 15 (EFE).- Russia on Wednesday said it had sought legal guarantees with Nato that the organization would not expand eastwards or pose a threat to Moscow from Ukraine, where a build-up of Russian troops has caused alarm in the West.

During a videoconference with China’s president Xi Jinping, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had filed the proposals with Nato’s United States representatives, according to Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov. Xi said he understood Russia’s concerns.

Moscow was prepared to begin immediate negotiations with Nato members, Putin said, and added he was hopeful that “Americans and Nato officials would react positively.”

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, met with his US counterpart Karen Donfried on Wednesday as part of her tour of Europe to address rising tensions between Nato and Russia over Ukraine.

Russia wants Nato to retract pledges it made in 2008 about incorporating Ukraine and Georgia as member states of the alliance, among other demands.

During their meeting, Putin and Xi also highlighted their strong bilateral ties.

“I believe that our relations are a real example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century,” Putin said during the conference.

He added that despite the Covid-19 outbreak, Russia and China are “in permanent contact” and recalled the video conference they held in June.

“A new model of cooperation between our countries has been formed based in particular on such pillars as non-interference in internal affairs, respect for mutual interests and the determination to turn the common border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighborliness,” he said.

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