Monday, January 24, 2022

Russia-Ukraine tensions on the agenda for OSCE talks

Efforts to defuse tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border shifted to Vienna on Thursday and the Organization for Security and Cooperation at the Permanent Council of Europe met.

The session follows a bilateral meeting between Russia and the United States in Geneva on Monday and talks between Russia and NATO in Brussels on Wednesday.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that after Thursday’s meeting, the parties involved would consider discussions and “determine appropriate next steps.”

Price said on Wednesday the United States expects Russian delegations to “report back” in three sets of meetings. [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin, from whom we all hope, will choose peace and security, and knowing that we are honest, and we stand firm when we say that we prefer the path of diplomacy and dialogue. ,

The United States and its NATO allies urged Russia to de-escalate tensions and resolve the situation diplomatically, and on Wednesday proposed ideas for reciprocal actions to reduce risks, improve transparency and communications and arms control. Offered.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation in Brussels, said the NATO-Russia meeting was a serious challenge for Moscow to de-escalate tensions and “to choose the path of diplomacy, to remain honest and mutually engaged.” Ended with ” Dialogue so that together we can identify solutions that enhance everyone’s safety,” during a press conference.

After the nearly four-hour meeting on Wednesday, Sherman said “there was no commitment to de-escalate, nor was there a statement that it would not happen.”

He said Russia has heard loud and clear that it is very difficult to have diplomacy when its 100,000 troops are largely placed on the Ukrainian border, and when fire drills are being practiced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via a videoconference at the Kremlin on January 12, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he had proposed the idea of ​​a series of meetings with Russia, which sought time to return with a reply.

“NATO allies are ready to engage in dialogue with Russia, but we will not compromise on fundamentals, we will not compromise on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every country in Europe,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Russia has sought security guarantees such as the withdrawal of NATO troops and military equipment from countries bordering Russia and limiting the expansion of the 30-member NATO alliance. It has also denied that it has plans to invade Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on Wednesday that discussions with NATO were deep and important, but added that Russia does not seriously regard NATO as a defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia.

“If NATO opposes a policy of deterrence, we will respond with a policy of counter-deterrence,” Grusko said. “If this turns into intimidation, we will retaliate. If it looks for weaknesses in Russia’s defense system, we will look for NATO weaknesses. It is not our choice, but we have no other choice if we do not reverse this current very dangerous course of events. ,

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed a new international summit to end the crisis.

“It is time to agree on a concrete way to end the conflict, and we will make the necessary decisions during a new summit of the leaders of the four countries,” Zelensky said in a statement after a meeting with European countries on Tuesday. are ready for.” diplomat

Britain's Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly, arrives at the NATO Headquarters for the NATO-Russia Council, in Brussels, January 12, 2022.

Britain’s Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly, arrives at the NATO Headquarters for the NATO-Russia Council, in Brussels, January 12, 2022.

In Washington, Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a comprehensive sanctions package to deter Russia from further aggression.

If Putin pursues hostile action against Ukraine, the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022 would impose severe sanctions on the Russian banking sector and on senior military and government officials.

US President Joe Biden has ruled out a military confrontation with Russia should it decide to attack Ukraine, but says the US and its allies will impose significant economic sanctions if Russia does invade.

Some information for this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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