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Russia has demanded strict limits on the activities of the US-led Nato military alliance in the countries neighbouring its borders.

Tension has been rising between Russia and Western countries, who fear Russia plans to invade its neighbour Ukraine.

Russia denies this, but says Nato must rule out Ukraine and others ever joining Nato to defuse the situation.

Moscow wants urgent talks with the US – but its proposals are being viewed as a non-starter in Washington.

Responding to Moscow’s call for direct negotiations with the US, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “There will be no talks on European security without our European allies and partners.”

Nato, which was originally set up to defend Europe against possible threats from the former Soviet Union, has forces in the Baltic republics and Poland.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia had given the US and Nato two draft treaties. There was no other option, he said, as the “state of relations between Russia and the collective West is a total lack of trust”.

In the proposals Russia sets out a series of radical demands, which require countries that joined Nato after the fall of the Soviet Union not to deploy troops or weapons in areas where they could be seen as a threat to Russia. Heavy bombers and warships would not be allowed in areas outside their national airspace or waters from which they could launch an attack.

That would mean Nato not playing any role at all in any of the three Baltic republics or Poland. And Nato would have to abandon any plans for Ukraine and Georgia to eventually join the Western alliance.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday he would prefer sanctions to be imposed immediately, before Russia took any military action.

Ukraine shares borders with both the EU and Russia, with which it has deep social and cultural ties.

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