FM Lavrov quiets talk of the conflict after the US president says Moscow may invade Ukraine in February.
Russia’s foreign minister has said Russia does not want war after Washington warned Moscow could invade Ukraine next month.
Sergei Lavrov told Russian media on Friday that the Kremlin was not seeking conflict with Kiev, but reiterated that Moscow would not allow its security interests to be ignored.
On Thursday, the United States and NATO responded to Russia’s sweeping security demands that arose in December after Moscow built up troops near the border with Ukraine.
First, Russia wants NATO to commit to permanently preventing Ukraine from joining the alliance.
Russia said the answers gave it no reason to be optimistic because there was “no positive answer to the main question”, but that the answers could serve as a starting point for discussions on “questions secondary”.
Here are all the latest updates:
Macron to seek clarification on Putin’s intentions, says French FM
French President Emmanuel Macron will try to assess whether Russian President Vladimir Putin wants “consultations or confrontation” on Ukraine during their phone conversation on Friday, the French foreign minister said.
Speaking to RTL radio, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the West still saw dialogue as possible, but the ball was in Putin’s court.
“It’s up to Vladimir Putin to say whether he wants consultations or a confrontation,” Le Drian told RTL radio, asking if the Russian leader wanted to be a “destabilizing power” or would seek de-escalation.
Russian warships practice artillery fire in the Black Sea
Russian warships practiced firing at air and sea targets during exercises in the Black Sea south of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Exercises involving 20 navy ships began Wednesday and are expected to wrap up later Friday.
They are part of a series of Navy exercises taking place in many locations this month and then from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Prepare for Russian cyberattacks, UK warns businesses
The UK has warned major companies to strengthen their defenses against possible Russian cyberattacks as the Ukraine crisis continues.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) said it was appealing to UK organizations in response to “malicious cyber incidents in and around Ukraine”.
A cyber attack 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.