The United States has rejected Russia’s demand to keep Ukraine out of NATO as tensions continue to rise about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The news: Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered Russia a formal, written response to its demands that were needed to be met in order to stop a potential invasion of Ukraine, per BBC News.

  • Blinken said he gave Russia “a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it.”
  • “There should be no doubt about our seriousness of purpose when it comes to diplomacy, and we’re acting with equal focus and force to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and prepare a swift united response to further Russian aggression,” he said, per BBC News.

Why it matters: This could be a turning point in the ongoing tension between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Russia could continue with a path into Ukraine since the U.S. didn’t meet its demands. Or there will be future discussions between the two countries.

  • Regardless, tensions have simmered a bit.
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Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin would now consider the U.S. response, according to CNN. He said the response was not taken positively.

  • “There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document,” Lavrov told reporters in Russia, according to CNN. “The main issue is our clear position on the inadmissibility of further expansion of NATO to the East and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation.”

He said it “gives hope for the start of a serious conversation” between the two nations.

What’s next: It’s unclear. Russia continues to suggest it will not rush to conclusions on the U.S. response.