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Russia pessimistic on US response to demands, says Sergey Lavrov

Russia sees “no positive reaction” from the U.S. on Moscow’s main security demands, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday, adding that President Vladimir Putin would “decide on our next steps,” according to Russian media Interfax.

The comments come a day after the U.S. and NATO delivered their private reply to recent Russian demands for far-reaching security guarantees — including a withdrawal of NATO forces from Eastern Europe and hard assurances that Ukraine will never join NATO.

Lavrov’s remarks echo comments from Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who said that the U.S. responses did not provide “much cause for optimism.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is hopeful that Russia will remain engaged in diplomatic negotiations for at least the next two weeks.

During a visit to Copenhagen with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod on Thursday, Kuleba said “the good news is that advisers agreed to meet in Berlin in two weeks, which means that at least for the next two weeks, Russia is likely to remain on the diplomatic track,” he said.

On Wednesday, political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Paris for talks, in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine and Western allies fear an invasion.

Former Russian President and senior security official Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped that a clash between NATO and Russia “never happens.”

“It would be the most dramatic, simply catastrophic scenario,” he told the Russian news agency RIA.

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