Russia’s foreign minister has said Russia does not want a war after Washington warned Moscow may invade Ukraine next month.
Sergey Lavrov told Russian media on Friday that the Kremlin was not seeking conflict with Kyiv, but restated Moscow would not allow its security interests to be ignored.
On Thursday, the US and NATO responded to Russia’s sweeping security demands that were raised in December after Moscow built up troops near the border with Ukraine.
Primarily, Russia wants NATO to commit to permanently blocking Ukraine from becoming a member of the alliance.
Russia said the replies gave it no cause for optimism because there was “no positive response to the main question”, but that the responses could serve as a starting point for talks on “secondary questions”.
Also, French President Emmanuel Macron will try to assess whether Russian President Vladimir Putin wants “consultations or confrontation” over Ukraine when they speak by phone on Friday, France’s foreign minister has said.
Speaking to RTL radio, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the West still considered dialogue possible, but the ball was in Putin’s court.
“It is up to Vladimir Putin to say if he wants consultations or confrontation,” Le Drian told RTL radio, asking whether the Russian leader wanted to be a “destabilising power” or would seek deescalation.
The United Kingdom has warned big business to bolster defences against possible Russian cyberattacks as the Ukraine crisis rumbles on.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it was appealing to British organisations in response to “malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine”.
A cyberattack on Ukraine earlier this month warned Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst”. Ukraine said Moscow was behind the attack, but the Kremlin denied any involvement in the incident.