Continuing diplomatic maneuvering over the Ukraine crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Thursday that Moscow will send its response to US and NATO proposals on security issues "within hours."
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow after meeting with his Italian counterpart Luigi di Maio, Lavrov said the document will also be made public to avoid "misinterpretation."
"We will send this letter to the American side today ... Within a few hours, after we send it to the Americans, we plan to (also publish) it," he said.
Explaining the decision to publish Russia's reaction, Lavrov said it is necessary so civil societies can understand what positions are taken by each country.
If the positions are kept secret, “as our colleagues from Washington and Brussels prefer,” then the public opinion will be shaped by "lies and open propaganda," including many reports about the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, he said.
While Russia announced this week that it was withdrawing troops from the border, the US said that on the contrary, Moscow is sending more troops.
In a separate statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that for the first time in history, countries "appointed to the roles of the aggressor and victim," with "diametrically opposite assessments of many issues" and "divergent approaches to many bilateral and international problems" spoke in unison, rebuffing reports that an Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.
In support of her statement, she cited the statements of a number of Ukrainian politicians, including military leaders.
According to Zakharova, Western officials are using the situation to distract attention from their own problems, mentioning as an example British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who faced calls for his resignation, but that was forgotten after the beginning of what she called a "disinformation campaign" against Russia, actively supported by the British media.
Western countries have accused Russia of amassing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Denying that it is preparing to invade, Russia has accused Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.
Russia also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states, and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.
In a written response to those demands, Washington said it is committed to upholding NATO's “open-door policy,” while NATO also conveyed the alliance's own reply “in parallel with the United States.”