Blinken says U.S. has delivered response to Moscow

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Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says the U.S. has delivered a written response to Moscow’s demands, amid Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine.  

“There are important things to work with if Russia is serious about working with them, and that is up to President Putin and we’ll see how they respond,” Blinken said at the State Department Wednesday.

The response to Russia, coordinated with Ukraine and European allies, outlines concerns about the things which the U.S. and its allies believe Russia is doing to undermine security and stability, evaluates Russia’s concerns, and includes the United States’ own proposals for common ground. The U.S. response emphasizes Ukraine’s sovereignty, while suggesting “potential for progress” in areas like arms control in Europe and ways to increase transparency and stability, Blinken said. The document responds to a list Russia’s foreign minister gave the U.S. last week. 

“All told, it sets out a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it,” Blinken said. “… We’re open to dialogue. We prefer diplomacy. And we’re prepared to move forward where there is the possibility of communication and cooperation, if Russia deescalates its aggression toward Ukraine, stops the inflammatory rhetoric, and approaches discussions about the future security in Europe in a spirit of reciprocity.” 

The U.S. response has also been delivered to Congress, Blinken said, adding that he’ll be briefing members of Congress on the matter Wednesday afternoon. The document will not be released publicly, the secretary of state said. 

Still, it’s “not a formal negotiating document,” Blinken said. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will also respond to Russia with its own ideas. 

“There is no daylight among the United States and our allies and partners on these matters,” Blinken said. 

Blinken said he plans to speak to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the days ahead.  

Mr. Biden met virtually with European leaders earlier this week as the countries determine how to handle Russia’s threat to Ukraine. 

The president said Tuesday sanctioning Putin personally isn’t off the table, and the U.S. is considering controlling exports relating to semiconductors if there is an invasion of Ukraine, something Blinken confirmed Wednesday. 

The Pentagon has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert, should NATO request them. 

The embassy in Kyiv will remain open, and the U.S. will continue to provide a “robust presence” there, Blinken said. 

Nonetheless, he said, “our message now for any Americans in Ukraine is to strongly consider leaving using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” adding the U.S. may extend loans to Americans who can’t afford the cost of a commercial ticket. 

The State Department has already ordered families of U.S. embassy employees in Kyiv to leave. 

While the U.S. has been working on diplomatic avenues to address the crisis, it’s also preparing for the possibility of Russian aggression, he said. 

“Right now the document is with them, and the ball’s in their court,” Blinken said.  

CBS News’ Christina Ruffini and Eleanor Watson contributed to this report 

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