The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it has little optimism about success in talks with the United States this week about its European security concerns, while Washington said Moscow’s massive military build-up on Ukraine’s border with current tensions. is at the root of.
After a day of talks with US diplomats in Geneva on Monday, Moscow said it would continue talks with Washington officials before deciding whether it was worth continuing talks with officials in Brussels and on Thursday in Vienna. Will wait for the outcome of the meetings.
But in the US, Victoria Nuland, the under-secretary of state for political affairs, told reporters “we have not seen the slightest sign of de-escalation” from Russia. “It is Russia that created this crisis in full cloth” by deploying 100,000 troops to Ukraine’s eastern border.
At the Geneva talks, Russia demanded guarantees, which Washington rejected, that the NATO military alliance of 30 countries in the West would halt Russia’s eastward expansion and halt military deployment to Eastern Europe.
“NATO poses no threat to Russia. It is a defensive alliance whose sole purpose is to protect its members,” Nuland said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the first day of talks in Geneva was “open, comprehensive and direct”, an assessment echoed by Washington. But Peskov said it was the outcome that ultimately mattered.
“As of now, let’s say we see no significant reason for optimism,” he said in a conference call with reporters.
NATO and Russia are holding talks in Brussels, while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is meeting in Vienna.
“There are still many rounds [of talks] ahead of us, which will allow us to work on a clearer understanding, a clearer picture of where we stand with the Americans,” Peskov said.
He said Russia was not setting any time frame for the talks, but would not accept pulling them out either.
Western allies fear Russia is planning to invade Ukraine after annexing its Crimean peninsula in 2014. Russia has denied plans to invade its once-Soviet satellite state, but has also not accepted US demands that it withdraw troops from the border.
US President Joe Biden has ruled out a military confrontation with Russia in case it decides to attack Ukraine, but says the US and its allies would impose significant economic sanctions if they did.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation to Geneva, said on Twitter on Tuesday: “The United States is committed to working closely with its allies and partners to help reduce and respond to the security crisis caused by Russia.” may be requested.”
In Monday’s bilateral talks, the two sides “discussed reciprocal action that would be in our security interest and prove to be strategic stability,” Sherman said. This includes potential limits on both sides on the size and scope of future military exercises in the region.
European Council President Charles Michel reiterated that “we have clearly stated that if there is a military attack against Ukraine, there will be an overwhelming response from the EU in coordination with our allies and allies.”
Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Lanet called Russian demands to halt NATO expansion “totally unacceptable”, adding that he expected coalition members at Wednesday’s meeting “to be very clear in saying … of NATO”. Collective defense remains a value defended by its members.”
In Geneva, Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov rejected US demands that Moscow withdraw its estimated 100,000 troops from the Ukrainian border, saying it has the right to deploy them wherever it wants.
Some of the material in this report comes from the Associated Press.