Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said if Ukraine refused "the idea of joining NATO" it "would significantly contribute to the formulation of a more meaningful response to Russian concerns," in response to remarks made by Ukraine's ambassador in London over the weekend.
Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom, had suggested the country may reconsider its ambitions to join NATO in an effort to prevent war.
Prystaiko clarified his comments on Monday, saying his country was "ready for many concessions" but added those concessions have "nothing to do with NATO, which is enshrined in the [Ukrainian] constitution."
Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Oleg Nikolenko further clarified his country's position Monday, saying: "I’d like to repeat that these [Prystaiko's] words are a bad phrasing. The prospect of Ukraine's membership in NATO is enshrined in the Constitution and no decisions can be taken contrary to it."
Asked to respond to Prystaiko's remarks, Peskov said: “You [the reporter] also drew attention to the fact that Kyiv was asked to clarify the ambassador. This can hardly be perceived as a fait accompli -- a change in the conceptual foreign policy change of Kyiv."
Asked if such a hypothetical step would satisfy the Kremlin, Peskov said: “Undoubtedly. Something fixed, confirming Ukraine's refusal of the idea of joining NATO. This is certainly a step that would significantly contribute to the formulation of a more meaningful response to Russian concerns.”
Russia argues that NATO support for Ukraine -- including increased weapons supplies and military training -- constitutes a growing threat on Russia's western flank.
Peskov also told journalists that Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
This comes after US President Joe Biden spoke to Putin for around an hour on Saturday, but it did little to change Moscow's position on Ukraine. A senior administration official told reporters following the call that the discussion was substantive but the US fears Russia may still launch a military attack anyway.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had on Friday accused Western countries and the press of spreading a "large-scale disinformation campaign" about an allegedly impending Russian invasion of Ukraine "in order to divert attention from their own aggressive actions."
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is making a fresh attempt to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine through diplomacy on Tuesday. He is currently meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv.