By Ali Cura
MOSCOW (AA) – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried discussed Moscow’s demand for "security guarantees," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday,
“A thorough discussion took place on the issue of security guarantees in the light of persistent attempts by the US and NATO to change the military and political situation in Europe in their favor,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ryabkov and Donfried held a closed-door meeting in Moscow. Before he visited Russia, Donfried had held contacts in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
On Dec. 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked US President Joe Biden for guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward and to prevent the deployment of weapons systems in Russia's neighboring countries.
Moscow has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine's border, prompting concerns of military action in Ukraine. According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow could trigger a large-scale escalation in January.
In 2014, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar in Ankara.