The United States and Russia have agreed to hold talks next month amid diplomatic efforts to ease tensions between Moscow and the West over the eastern expansion of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
A spokesman for the US National Security Council told the Agency France-Presse on Monday that US-Russian talks would take place next January 10, and that nuclear weapons control files and the Ukraine crisis would be dealt with. The framework of the strategic security dialogue initiated by US President Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin at the summit in Geneva, Switzerland last June.
The US spokesman added that the meeting would be followed by a second meeting between Russia and NATO on the 12th of the same month, and a third meeting the next day between Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. States that insist that Ukraine’s interests will not be overlooked in any agreement, it can be reached with Russia.
“If 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 actions,” he added.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybkov confirmed on Tuesday that talks would take place in Geneva on the 10th of next month.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that talks on security guarantee programs between Moscow, Washington and NATO would take place in Russia immediately after the New Year and the Christmas holidays, which end on January 9.
Lavrov added that – in a televised interview – Moscow’s main concern was a dialogue with NATO at the military level.
In this context, the Reuters news agency quoted Russian media as saying that Moscow was emphasizing the need for military officials to take part in talks with NATO next month.
Recently, as tensions escalated due to Russian military presence on Ukraine’s borders, Moscow demanded security guarantees and repeatedly said that adding Ukraine to NATO was a red line.
Russia has already submitted proposals to the US and NATO for security guarantees, including a non-agreement on the annexation of Ukraine and the Baltic states to NATO, and the reduction of the alliance’s military presence in Central and Eastern Europe.
But the United States and its allies refused to give Russia any guarantees and insisted on their willingness to negotiate in return.
Earlier, Putin said he would consider a number of options if Western nations did not respond to his request for Russia’s security guarantees, including avoiding Ukraine’s annexation to NATO.
Allegations of NATO
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said NATO was preparing for a large-scale armed conflict with Moscow.
Fomin added that in a statement issued on Monday, Russia had made several attempts to take advantage of NATO in the post – Cold War situation, citing disarmament on its western border.
He said that in recent years, documents related to NATO’s military strategy had been provided and that Russia had been cited as a key source of NATO security threats.
For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybkov said his country did not want to resort to escalating tensions with the West, stressing the importance of adopting diplomatic methods to resolve the dispute.
Rybkov stressed that Russia would not tolerate NATO action over its security concerns and would work to put an end to its expansion to the east.
He stressed the need for NATO to officially abandon the outcome of the 2008 Bucharest Summit, which stipulated that Ukraine and Georgia join the alliance.
A month ago, the West accused it of mobilizing about 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, where it aimed to intervene militarily, increasing its warnings to the Kremlin, which denied any intent to start the war and – in turn – Kiev. It is preparing a military offensive to retake separatist-held land in the eastern Donbass region.
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