U.S.-Russian Security Talks: What We Know

Russia and the United States held more than seven hours of tense talks in Geneva on Monday regarding Moscow’s sweeping set of demands from Washington and its NATO allies on their presence in Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.

Both sides noted there was no breakthrough, but vowed to continue diplomatic efforts to diffuse tensions.

Here’s what they discussed:

Invasion fears

– Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he had assured his U.S. counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, that the fears of a Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbor Ukraine were unfounded.

– Sherman said Russia offered no proof it would not invade, nor any explanation for why it has deployed some 100,000 troops towards the Ukrainian border.

Sanctions

– Sherman threatened sanctions on key Russian financial institutions, export controls targeting key industries, NATO enhancement and more security assistance to Kyiv if Russia invades Ukraine.

– Ryabkov denounced the U.S. threats as “attempts at blackmail and intimidation.” But he added: “I don’t think the situation is hopeless.”

NATO expansion

– Ryabkov sought “ironclad, legally binding” guarantees that Ukraine as well as the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia would never join the U.S.-led military bloc, saying the issue “is an absolute imperative” to Russia. 

– Sherman insisted that the demand is a “non-starter,” saying “we will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO’s open-door policy.” 

Military and missiles

– Sherman offered reciprocal moves with Russia on de-escalation on missile placements and exercises.

– Ryabkov reiterated Russia’s warning of a “military response through means at our discretion” if NATO deployed U.S. offensive weapons in Europe. “That will inevitably, unavoidably damage security of the U.S. and its European allies,” the AP quoted him as saying.

– Ryabkov made clear that Russia was not interested in discussing the defunct INF Treaty, which had banned both sides from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe, without the demands it has laid out in front of the U.S. and NATO.

What now?

– Monday’s talks in Geneva launched a week of “Strategic Security Dialogue” diplomacy between Russia and the West after Moscow’s troop movements near Ukraine triggered a Cold War-style standoff.

– A meeting of the NATO-Russia Council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, then the permanent council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will meet in Vienna on Thursday with the issue of Ukraine expected to dominate.

AFP contributed reporting.

(c) The Moscow Times

2 comments

  1. Ryabkov denounced the U.S. threats as “attempts at blackmail and intimidation.” But he added: “I don’t think the situation is hopeless.”

    More Russian logic on display here. The US threatening sanctions and more NATO troops in Europe is blackmail, yet the 100,000 Russians on Ukrainie’s borders, the reason this meeting took place at all, is not blackmail and intimidation.

    After 7 hours of waffling, it seems nothing at all was achieved. Better just regard everything this Putler puppet says as a big lie, apply the sanctions now, then sit back.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The DT ran a brief piece yesterday: “Standing Up To Putin.” It swamped with kremtrolls. Here is one : he calls himself “David Jackson.”

      “Well DT let’s see. The only comment which counts about your leader is the last. Most of the reports on yesterday’s meeting in Geneva have shown a frustrated USA being roundly told off by the Russian side who are not budging a centimeter. Why? because Russia has most of the key cards in its hands as any deep analysis both economically and militarily reveal. Germany is dependent on Russian energy supplies for the near future and has no reason to pick a quarrel with Russia. France, under Macron, is inclined to have better relations with Russia and several other European states are not anti-Russian inclined except, of course, Poland and Ukraine for historic reasons. Russia isn’t threatening the Baltic three nor Finland or Sweden, even though Sweden was a historic enemy of Russia. The Americans simply cannot stomach the idea of a resilient Russia and foolishly do not understand the anger and annoyance of continuous NATO expansion eastward despite assurances, given at the time of German unification, that there would be no such eastward expansion. This is very well attested to despite the outright lie told by Blinken to the contrary. The comparison to the Cuban crisis is apposite. As to Ukraine its borders should have been revised at the breakup of the Soviet Union but a weak Russia, at that time, could not foresee subsequent virulently anti-Russia Governments taking office who have been hell bent on destroying the large ethnic Russian majorities in parts of east Ukraine. Why should Russia stand idly by and see its own people persecuted by west Ukrainian fascists? Even the post war analysis by the EU of the Russian Georgian incident blamed Georgia for starting that war against a long-standing Russia ethnic minority. A degree of even handiness is required here.”

      Note the obligatory reference to “Ukrainian fascists.”

      Reply from M Bilewycz:

      “NO.
      Its your boss, Putin who is making all the demands, which are increasingly unrealistic.
      NATO expansion is only driven by independent democracies wishing to join, NOT otherwise.
      No-one trusts Russia, especially a Russia led by Putin, and its not just for historic reasons. It was Russia which marched into Georgia, Ukraine and Chechnya, not the reverse.
      We all know the same old tactic of protecting ethics of the aggressor nation has been used as an excuse to march in by another dictator in the 1930’s.
      For those reasons and many others Putin will not find a single friend in the former Soviet eastern European nations, and for very good reason.
      Trying to argue that Ukraine’s borders should have been revised at the USSR’s breakup is just another creative argument to justify incursions into Ukraine.
      Putting it another way, you and your boss in Moscow cannot stomach an independent and democratic Ukraine achieving some measure of success in developing international relations.
      Amongst other things it highlights the paucity of rights and benefits that Russian citizens are entitled to, and that threatens Putin.
      The moment Putin’s Russia threatens invasion it demonstrates that it has no legitimacy and has lost.
      Claiming that Russian ethnics in Eastern Russia are in danger, is just a pathetic excuse.
      The only thing happening is the demotion of Russian to a second language – it is Ukraine, and Ukraine is entitled to treat its own national language as the first language.
      Finally, using Cuba as a parallel is a false comparison because that was one totalitarian regime relying on a bigger totalitarian regime (the USSR) to site nuclear missiles within a few miles of US cities.
      The former Eastern bloc countries are now democracies and are entitled to the assistance NATO offers.”

      Reply from the same “Jackson” arsehole:

      “Judging by your name I guess you might be Polish which in turn might explain the obvious hatred you have for Russia. But that apart you should get your facts correct. First it’s the centuries old ethnic Russian population living in eastern Ukraine, a country that did not exist until after the First World war not East Russia. Next it is a well establish fact that the EU investigation into the Georgian Russia conflict was started by Georgia and even the Americans, grudgingly admit this. Next when the Crimea government and people asked Kyiv for a referendum on re-unification with Russia the West Ukranians said no even though the subsequent referendum held overwhelmingly voted for RE-unification or perhaps you chose to ignore the fact that Crimea was a full part of Russia until 1954 when the Ukranian General Secretary of the USSR (Khrushchev a Ukranian) arbitrarily transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR without reference to the people living the (for centuries!) Not much of a democrat are you? The majority of the Russian people support President Putin.”

      I replied to “Jackson”:

      “David Jackson”, you are just another wormy little troll. Your entire rant has been assembled from Kremlin lies and propaganda that was assembled in 2014. The fascists are in Russia. Putin runs a fascist regime in all but name.
      Either you are in Savushkina Ulitse, or you are a member of some smelly Putin-loving cult in Britain.”

      Another reply of mine to “Jackson” :

      “Kyiv was an important Christian city when your Muscovy was just a swamp. And no I’m not Polish or Ukrainian. I just hate smelly little trolls.”

      Liked by 4 people

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