Speed Reads

meeting me quarter-way

Leaked docs suggest the U.S. might throw Russia a bone. Will it be enough to avert war?

The U.S. could be willing to offer Russia a transparency agreement to guarantee that cruise missiles will not be stationed at NATO bases in Eastern Europe, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

According to El País, a Spanish newspaper that reportedly obtained leaked documents containing U.S. and NATO responses to Russian demands, the Biden administration is willing to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin "a 'transparency mechanism.'" This would "verify the absence of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are capable of reaching Russian territory, at the NATO anti-missile shield bases in Romania and Bulgaria."

Putin has repeatedly expressed concerns about the possibility of NATO missiles in Eastern Europe that could strike Moscow within minutes. But his demands go much further.

In the pair of draft treaties to which the leaked documents were responding, Russia insisted that Ukraine be barred from membership in NATO and that the alliance pull its troops out of Eastern Europe.  

The transparency agreement proposed by the Biden administration is a far cry from Putin's demand for a total pullout, and guaranteeing Ukraine won't join NATO appears to be a non-starter for both the U.S. and the alliance.

According to AP, the leaked NATO document included a reaffirmation of the 30 member nations' "commitment to NATO's Open Door policy."

Meanwhile, CNN reported Wednesday, Russia continues to move troops into position on the Ukrainian border. New satellite imagery shows evidence of troop buildups at several bases, new Russian deployments in Belarus, and live-fire artillery drills.

The New York Times reports that around 130,000 Russian troops are massed on Ukraine's border.

President Biden has ordered 3,000 American troops to move into position to "bolster the defense of European allies," The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Some 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are being sent to Poland and Germany, while around 1,000 troops stationed in Germany are heading to Romania.