US, Russia agree to talks amid rising tensions over Ukraine

Some of these states are already members of NATO.

In a statement, the National Security Council did not specify where the meeting would take place, but the most likely location is Geneva, where previous rounds of nuclear weapons talks took place. He also did not say who would lead the delegation. The nuclear talks were led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabkov.

The National Security Council said that “Mr. Biden’s approach to Ukraine was clear and consistent: to unite the alliance behind two tracks, deterrence and diplomacy.”

The deterrent side of the equation included arming the Ukrainians with Javelin anti-tank missiles and other weapons. It was also about getting European and other allies to agree in advance on a series of economic sanctions if Russia sends its troops across the border to seize parts. Ukraine beyond Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

But the United States and its allies were also “united in our willingness to engage in principled diplomacy with Russia,” the White House said, adding that “when we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we’ll put our concerns on the table with Russia’s activities as well. “

U.S. diplomats struggle to understand whether the diplomatic initiative that would begin next month is a serious Russian effort to push NATO forces away from its border and end military aid to Ukraine, or a sham intended to justify military action. Intelligence officials say they believe Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has not decided to invade Ukraine, but fear he is reluctant to give the impression that he is backing down if he begins to withdraw forces in large numbers.

Christi C. Elwood