During crisis talks in Geneva yesterday, the United States and Russia talked about possible steps for disarmament in Europe. But in the Ukrainian crisis, there was no convergence. Both sides insisted on their positions, as evidenced by the explanations of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov after the talks ended.
The United States and the Western Defense Alliance are demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from the border with Ukraine. Russia is demanding a reduction in the number of US forces and weapons in Europe and an assurance that NATO will not expand to the east.
A call for de-escalation
Sherman then described the eight-hour talks as “open and direct.” Ryabkov described the conversation at a press conference broadcast live by the state agency TASS as “difficult, but very professional, profound and concrete.”
Sherman again called on Russia to stop the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. Sherman said the United States was willing to talk about issues such as limiting maneuvers or deploying missiles. For example, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces with the capability of making nuclear weapons could be revived. The United States withdrew from it under President Donald Trump. Sherman again rejected Russia’s demands for a guaranteed end to NATO’s eastward expansion.
More conversations will follow
Ryabkov said there was no further progress in Geneva aimed at ending NATO’s eastward expansion. “I would say: No, we haven’t made any improvement.” Moscow has made clear that progress must be made on the main demands. This included the termination of NATO’s eastward expansion and the withdrawal of the Western military alliance from stationing offensive weapons near the Russian border. Russia will not give up on these demands.
Further talks will take place this morning in Brussels, where NATO meets the western defense alliance with Russia, and on Thursday at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.
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