Amid efforts to defuse tensions over Ukraine, US and Russia confirm talks next month
The United States and Russia have confirmed that they will hold talks next month, and this comes amid diplomatic efforts to defuse tension between Moscow and the West over Ukraine and NATO’s eastward expansion.
A spokesman for the US National Security Council told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the US-Russian talks will be held on the tenth of next January, and will deal with the nuclear weapons control files and the Ukrainian crisis, noting that they fall within the framework of the strategic security dialogue launched by the US President Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin at their summit in Geneva, Switzerland, last June.
The American spokesman added that this meeting may be followed by a second meeting between Russia and NATO on the 12th of the same month, and the next day a third meeting between Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose membership includes the United States, stressing that Ukraine’s interests will not be ignored in any agreement. It may be reached with Russia.
“When we sit down to engage in dialogue, Russia can put its concerns on the table and we will put our concerns on the table, especially Russia’s activities,” he added.
For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that negotiations between Moscow, Washington and NATO regarding security guarantee proposals will take place immediately after the New Year and Christmas holidays that end in Russia on January 9.
Lavrov added – in a television interview – that what Moscow is primarily interested in is conducting a dialogue with NATO at the military level.
In this context, Reuters news agency quoted Russian media as saying that Moscow stresses the need for military officials to participate in talks with NATO next month.
Recently, with the escalation of tension due to Russian military movements on Ukraine’s borders, Moscow has demanded security guarantees, and has repeatedly stated that Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO is a red line for it.
Russia has already submitted to the United States and NATO proposals for the security guarantees it seeks, including not agreeing to the accession of Ukraine and the Baltic states to NATO, and reducing the alliance’s military deployment in Central and Eastern Europe.
But the United States and its allies refused to give any guarantees to Russia, stressing in return their willingness to hold talks.
Earlier, Putin said he would consider a range of options, if Western countries did not respond to his request to give Russia security guarantees, including refraining from annexing Ukraine to NATO.
accusations of NATO
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said that NATO is preparing for a large-scale armed conflict with Moscow.
Fomin added – in statements he made on Monday – that Russia has made many attempts to deal positively with NATO after the Cold War, referring to disarmament on its western borders.
He added that documents related to NATO’s military strategy in recent years were presented and Russia was referred to as the main source of NATO security threats.
For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that his country does not want to resort to a scenario of escalation with the West, stressing the importance of adopting diplomatic methods to resolve the dispute.
Ryabkov stressed that Russia will not tolerate what he called NATO’s actions regarding its security concerns, and will work to put an end to its expansion to the east.
He stressed the need for NATO to officially abandon the outcomes of the 2008 Bucharest Summit, which stipulated that Ukraine and Georgia would join the alliance.
More than a month ago, the West accused Russia of mobilizing about 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border with the aim of militarily interfering there, and escalated its warnings to the Kremlin, which denies any intention to launch a war, accusing – in turn – Kiev of preparing a military attack to restore separatist-held lands in the eastern Donbass region. the country, but the Ukrainian authorities strongly deny this.