Talks on Ukraine conflict: US calls on Russia to de-escalate tensions

Talks on Ukraine conflict: US calls on Russia to de-escalate tensions

Status: 10.01.2022 3:50 AM.

Ahead of today’s meeting with Russia, the US is demanding that its negotiators reduce the Ukraine conflict. At the same time, US Secretary of State Blinken dashed hopes of talks.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Russia to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis ahead of important talks this week. It is difficult to make progress “in an environment of escalation with a pistol to Ukraine’s head,” Blinken said on CNN. “So if we really want to make progress, we have to see de-escalation.”

Representatives of the US and Russia are negotiating in Geneva today. The NATO-Russia Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels – the first in two and a half years. This will be followed by talks in Vienna on Thursday within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Blinken doesn’t believe in “successes”

Blinken dashed hopes of talks. “I don’t think we will get any success in the coming week,” the minister said. “We will be able to put things on the table. The Russians will do the same, both directly with us and with NATO and OSCE.” Then they will see if there are any opportunities for progress.

From the point of view of the United States, the principle of reciprocity applies in negotiations, Blinken said. Every step taken by the United States and Europe must be mutually reciprocated by Russia. From Washington’s point of view, neither the withdrawal of American troops from Eastern Europe nor any promise not to expand NATO is up for negotiation.

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hard front

On the Russian side, the upcoming talks are headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. According to the RIA, he had already said that it is quite possible that diplomacy may end abruptly after a meeting.

The American side had earlier also dashed hopes of talks. “We are entering these talks with realism, not optimism,” a US government official told reporters in a telephone conversation.

“Complex Discussion” at Dinner

The comments after the first informal meeting on Sunday evening were similarly cautious. After dinner, Riabco talks about a “complicated discussion” with his American colleague, Wendy Sherman. According to the Interfax news agency, Rybko said the talks “couldn’t have been easier”. But he believes that diplomats will not waste their time in their talks in Geneva.

Sherman said during the meeting, according to his department, “support for international principles of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of sovereign countries of the United States to choose their own alliances”. It referred to Ukraine and the West’s fears of a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s demand not to expand the NATO defense alliance in the east.

After today’s official meeting, Wednesday will be the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels in more than two years. This will be followed by talks in Vienna on 13 January within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The struggle has been going on for weeks

The situation has been tense for weeks. Russia has gathered around 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine. Governments in Kiev and in the western states fear it may serve to prepare for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The Russian government denies aggressive intentions but has made far-reaching demands. In addition to non-NATO expansion, this includes the withdrawal of offensive weapons from the region. The Russian government set out the demands in a draft security agreement submitted to NATO.

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