While tensions intensify in eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have agreed to uphold a ceasefire in talks held under the Normandy format.
The talks are an informal forum established by diplomats from the four sides in 2014, after Russia-backed separatists kick started conflict in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region.
Wednesday's eight-hour forum marked the first Russia-Ukraine talks since Moscow's latest military build-up near Ukraine's border.
It's also the first joint statement to be signed by Russia and Ukraine since December 2019 when Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky met in person.
While France and Ukraine have called the statement meaningful, Russia drew the line, saying there had not been much progress in the latest round of Normandy talks, and that the matter discussed is separate from tensions near Ukraine's border.
The four nations will meet again in Berlin within the next two weeks for further negotiations.
In the meantime, the United States and NATO have told Russia there will be no concessions on Moscow's main demands to resolve the Ukraine crisis
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Washington has given Moscow its written response laying out "a serious diplomatic path forward should Russia choose it."
According to AP, Russia has received the written response from the U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan.
Blinken said that he expects to have follow-up discussions with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the coming days.
Russia is demanding Ukraine be blocked from becoming a NATO member and for limits to be put on NATO troops on the bloc's eastern front.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.