The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has proposed to hold a Russia-NATO Council meeting on January 12, when a NATO military committee is meeting in Brussels, TASS news agency reported on Sunday, citing the alliance's press service.
"The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has decided to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on 12 January 2022 in his capacity as the Chair of the NATO-Russia Council. We are in contact with Russia as regards the meeting," TASS quoted the press service as saying.
Moscow has received the proposal and is considering it, the agency reported, citing a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry.
The United States says Russia may be preparing an invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor Ukraine. Russia denies that and says it is Ukraine's growing relationship with NATO that has caused the standoff to escalate. It has compared it to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the world came to the brink of nuclear war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday his country wanted to avoid conflict but needed an "immediate" response from the United States and its allies to its demands for security guarantees. Moscow has said it expects talks with U.S. officials on the subject to start in January in Geneva.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has said some of Russia's security proposals are obviously unacceptable, but that Washington will respond with more concrete ideas on the format of any talks.
In an interview on CBS' Face The Nation television show, Vice President Kamala Harris said Washington has been in direct conversations with Moscow about the issue and reiterated the U.S. commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity.
"We've been very clear that we are prepared to issue sanctions like you've not seen before," Harris said, but declined to elaborate on the specifics of the sanctions.
(With input from Reuters)