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Leaked text suggests possible US-Russia missile arrangement

 Russia Military Drills
Posted at 5:42 AM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 11:51:15-05

BRUSSELS — A leaked document in a Spanish newspaper suggests the United States could be willing to enter into an agreement with Russia to ease tensions over missile deployments in Europe if Moscow steps back from the brink in Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the documents, including one purported to be Washington's reply to Russian security proposals.

NATO says it never comments on "alleged leaks" in reference to a second text published Wednesday in El Pais. But the document closely resembles remarks made by NATO's chief last week.

The U.S.-linked text said Washington could be willing to discuss "a transparency mechanism to confirm the absences of Tomahawk cruise missiles" at two missile defense sites in Europe.

The development comes amid heightened tensions as Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, sparking fears of an invasion.

Russia denies having any such designs — and has laid out a series of demands it says will improve security in Europe, including a promise that NATO will not extend an invitation to Ukraine and a guarantee that the alliance will remove troops from Eastern Europe.

But the U.S. and the Western alliance have firmly rejected any concessions on Moscow's suggestions. Many of Russia's demands are nonstarters for NATO, creating a stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. and its allies had ignored Russia's top security demands that NATO not expand to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations, refrain from deploying offensive weapons near Russia and roll back its deployments to Eastern Europe.

In the past, Putin has expressed frustration with the Soviet breakup of some countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. According to an Associated Press analysis, Putin sees those countries as part of a historic Russian linguistic and Orthodox motherland.