The official US response to Russia’s security concerns and demands was hand-delivered to the Russian Foreign Ministry earlier today. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insists the reply offers a “diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it.” He was not clear on what direction the path would lead Russia, however, it was likely a reference to a path out of this crisis. There were no concessions made by Washington and the Russian government understood from the start there would be none. As I have mentioned many times in the past weeks, Russia needs a US refusal in order to move forward. Its laundry list of demands was crafted to appear unacceptable to the US. Now Vladimir Putin has a ripe justification accompany any future action against Ukraine or a former Warsaw Pact nation in Eastern Europe.
Now begins the waiting game. Russia has promised retaliation if its demands were not met. Geopolitical blackmail which has somehow gone either unnoticed or not taken seriously by Western diplomats and leaders. The ball is effectively in Vladimir Putin’s court and the world is waiting tensely to see what his response will be. And where it will fall.