Moscow has raised pressure on the West to meet its security demands, amid concerns that it is planning to invade its neighbour Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again alleged the West is encouraging Ukraine to launch an offensive and rejected talk about an imminent Russian invasion as “hysterics.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again alleged the West is encouraging Ukraine to launch an offensive and rejected talk about an imminent Russian invasion as “hysterics.” (Reuters)

Russia has warned it would quickly take “retaliatory measures” if the United States and its allies reject its security demands over NATO and Ukraine.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he and other top officials will advise President Vladimir Putin on the next steps after receiving written replies from the US to the demands. 

"If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” Lavrov said.

But he indicated Russia wouldn't wait forever. “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions,” he said.

He mocked fears of an imminent invasion, saying that “our Western colleagues have driven themselves up into a militarist frenzy."

Lawmakers asked Lavrov if Russia could expand military cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as part of its retaliatory measures.

Lavrov responded merely that Moscow has close ties with those countries in the Western Hemisphere and is seeking to deepen them.

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Escalating tensions

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it is planning an invasion, but the US and its NATO allies are worried about Russia deploying an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine and launching a series of sweeping military manoeuvres.

NATO said this week it was bolstering its deterrence in the Baltic Sea region and the US ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert for potential deployment to Europe. 

Western nations have also sent planeloads of weapons to help Ukraine strengthen its defences.

Several rounds of high-stakes diplomacy have failed to yield any breakthroughs, but another attempt was going forward on Wednesday.

Presidential advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany were in Paris to discuss ways to revive a stalled peace agreement for eastern Ukraine.

Amid the escalating tensions, Ukrainian officials have sought to calm nerves.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that while the concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine poses a threat, “their number is now insufficient for a large-scale offensive.”

READ MORE: EU plans to back Ukraine with $1.36 billion aid package

Source: TRTWorld and agencies