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NATO finalising written proposals for Russia

NATO finalising written proposals for Russia

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NATO is close to completing its written proposals for Moscow after Russia issued a raft of security demands, and should deliver them this week, alliance diplomats said Wednesday.

"Many of the Russian demands are unacceptable or unrealistic, but the response identifies a number of issues on which it is possible to work on their concerns," a Western diplomat told AFP.

"The question is whether this is what the Russians want."

Moscow blindsided the West by publishing two draft treaties for the United States and NATO in December that would see Washington's influence rolled back in eastern Europe.

The demands were issued as tensions soared after Moscow massed some 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine in a move the West warns could be the prelude to a large-scale invasion.

The Kremlin wants NATO to guarantee pro-Western Kyiv will never join the military alliance and commit to pulling back forces from its eastern European flank.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is willing to listen to Russian "concerns". But he insists NATO will not compromise on its "core principles" -- including the right of its partners to chose their own path.

He has instead laid out a list of areas that the alliance is willing to discuss with Moscow, including arms control, disarmament, transparency on military activities, and risk-reduction mechanisms.

Stoltenberg told CNN Tuesday that NATO would deliver its proposals to the Kremlin this week "in parallel" with a separate response being drafted by Washington.

Russia has said it is waiting to see those written responses before deciding whether to proceed with more talks after meetings with US and NATO failed to make a breakthrough.

Western allies insist they remain committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis but have threatened Moscow with sweeping sanctions if it stages a fresh incursion into its neighbour.

The Kremlin says it has no intention of sending its troops across the border and has accused the US and NATO of ratcheting up the tensions.