Talks between the United States and Russia are scheduled for next week – January 9 and 10 – in Geneva. The meeting of the NATO-Russia Council is scheduled for January 12 – the first in two and a half years. In addition, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will hold talks on January 13.
Selenskyj announced on Twitter, a short news service, that it had discussed “joint efforts by Ukraine, the United States and its allies to bring peace to Europe” and had taken steps to reduce the intensity with Biden. He thanked Biden for “their unwavering support”. The United States is also supplying arms to Ukraine.
Zhelensky said in his New Year’s speech that he did not just want to bring back Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists must also return, he said.
Russia, which has distributed hundreds of thousands of passports in the conflict zone, has recently issued several warnings against an attack by Ukrainian troops on the Donbass. In this case, Moscow’s military doctrine offers the possibility of an invasion – to protect Russian citizens.
The United States has been accusing Russia of building troops on the Ukrainian border for weeks. It is feared that Russian troops may invade the former Soviet republic. Russia denies such plans for an invasion and accuses Ukraine of deploying additional troops in the region.
According to the White House, Biden stressed that the United States is committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US government has threatened severe sanctions against its allies in Europe. In addition, in such a case, NATO’s presence in its eastern member states should be expanded. The United States will provide additional assistance to Ukraine, including the armed forces.
In a telephone conversation with Putin on New Year’s night, Biden stressed in his conversation with Zhelensky that no decision would be made on Ukraine without the country. The Minsk Peace Plan applies to the resolution of the conflict in Donbass. As announced by the White House, the US President also supported the so-called Normandy form.
In the four-member panel, France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine are trying to resolve a conflict that has been going on for nearly eight years. Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the Minsk peace plan. The UN estimates that more than 13,000 people have been killed in the Donbass since 2014 in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists. Countries including the European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Talks between Russia and the United States in Geneva next week, and later with NATO and OSCE, will focus primarily on Moscow’s demands for security guarantees. Putin has repeatedly called for an end to NATO’s eastern expansion. In talks with Biden and several other heads of state and government, he called for legal agreements guaranteeing Russia’s security.
In particular, Putin is demanding that NATO drop its membership in Ukraine. Moscow has threatened repercussions if security guarantees are rejected by the Western military alliance. On the other hand, Ukraine, unimpressed by Russia’s warnings, is still seeking membership in NATO. On the other hand, if an agreement is reached with the United States, Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov said on Friday that this would lead to “some default and – perhaps even – improvement of bilateral relations”.
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