The United States has said it does not intend to reduce the number of troops in Eastern Europe to defuse tensions with Russia. Senior diplomat Antony Blinken said Russia was promoting a “false narrative” to justify deploying troops to the Ukrainian border.

The United States has rejected reports that it is preparing to offer a reduction in the number of troops in Eastern Europe as a currency in next week’s talks with Russia on Ukraine.

The NBC News, citing several sources, reported on Friday that Washington is ready to discuss reducing US forces in Eastern Europe as a currency for Russia to withdraw from the Ukrainian border and other parts of the region.

“In fact, we have made it clear to Russia, both publicly and privately, that if Russia continues to invade Ukraine, we will strengthen our NATO partners on the eastern flank, to which we have a sacred obligation as allies.” State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter.

In December, Russia presented a list of requirements for restoring relations with the United States and NATO. This included stopping NATO deployments on the eastern flank of the alliance and halting NATO expansion in the region, DW reports.

NATO rejected the request, saying Russia could decide who would join the alliance and not dictate its operations.

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