The US-Russian tension over security in Ukraine and Eastern Europe continues. On January 26, the White House responded in writing to Russia’s proposals to the United States, NATO, and the European Union to ensure its security. Russia has openly demanded that the addressees do not deploy short- and medium-range missiles in Eastern Europe, NATO do not expand to the east, and, first of all, not admit Ukraine as a member of the alliance, and asked for guarantees in this regard.

In its response letter, Washington raised a number of issues with Moscow and expects a similar response to these proposals. The White House’s response letter to the Kremlin has not been made public. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a number of statements at a press conference in Washington. He noted that the United States has responded to Russia’s proposals proceeding from the basic principles of its commitment. According to him, his country supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, its freedom of choice to join the alliance: “NATO’s door is open and will remain so.” The Russian Foreign Ministry did not comment on the details of the letter. US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan presented letters from both his country and NATO to the Russian Foreign Ministry. His meeting at the ministry lasted less than 30 minutes.

Incidentally, Russia sent security-related letters on December 17, 2021. After that, the Russian delegation held a three-round meeting on January 10, 12, and 13 in the United States, NATO, and the OSCE. These talks ended inconclusively. After that, on January 21, Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva. Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed to respond in writing to the Russian minister. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his country’s position would be taken into account in a response letter from the United States and NATO and that they did not object to it.

On the day the letter was addressed, a meeting of the Normandy format was held in Paris to regulate the situation in eastern Ukraine. Although the details of the letter are unknown, it boils down from the statements of the Secretary of State and the Ukrainian minister that there is no change in the position of the United States, NATO, and Ukraine. In addition, recently all parties have noted that the principles of the Minsk agreement have been violated. The Second Minsk Agreement on the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine in the format of the Normandy Quartet was signed at the summit of the leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia in Minsk on February 11-12, 2015. This document was later endorsed by a special resolution of the UN Security Council. The 13-article document explicitly emphasizes Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It was noted that Luhansk and Donetsk regions were given the status of special districts. The document also emphasizes the issue of Ukraine’s full control over its state border. The disarmament of all illegal armed groups in the Donbas is also reflected in the document.

So, according to the document, signed by Russia, the armed groups in Luhansk and Donetsk are operating illegally, and the state border in eastern Ukraine has been violated. All such violations are connected with Russia’s activities in the region. Moreover, Moscow’s military exercises along the border with Ukraine and the deployment of additional troops in the region have caused concern in the international community. Therefore, Russia is preparing for a possible attack on Ukraine in the future.

Remind that after the Maidan movement, neither Kyiv nor the West was ready to prevent Russia’s annexation of Crimea and separatism in eastern Ukraine. However, Russia had warned Ukraine that it would lose Crimea and Donbas if it pursues NATO and EU membership. So, Russia invaded Ukraine six years ago. So what is behind the West’s idea that “if Russia invades, we will defend Ukraine”? Under what circumstances can Russia attack Ukraine again? It can be assumed that the parties to the Minsk agreement, including Crimea, have accepted Ukraine’s territorial integrity. By annexing the peninsula, Russia already considers it its territory. Russia is now being demanded that it adhere to the basic principles of the Minsk agreement. This is the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Presumably, this is the main issue in the letters of the United States and NATO. Based on these events, it can be concluded that Ukraine may conduct a military operation in the Donbas in order to restore its territorial integrity. In this case, Russia will invade Ukraine again. That is why the West warns Moscow with the above-mentioned statement. As can be seen from commentaries on the letter, the West does not intend to abandon its position and plan on Ukraine. Moreover, official Kyiv is also striving for the restoration of its territorial integrity.