US, Russia to start talks on January 10 amid Ukraine crisis

US and Russian diplomats have set a date to discuss Moscow’s demand for “security guarantees” against NATO expansion amid mounting tensions over the build-up of troops near the Ukrainian border, according to a new report.

According to Reuters, bilateral talks will take place on January 10. Separate talks between Russia and NATO are scheduled for January 12, and another round of talks involving officials from Washington, Moscow and European countries is scheduled for January 13.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed the dates to Reuters, while a spokesperson for the National Security Council told the news agency that the White House was ready to engage in diplomacy.

“We are united as an Alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moved towards Ukraine,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “But we are also united in our willingness to engage in principled diplomacy with Russia.”

“Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will also put our concerns on the table with Russia’s activities,” the statement added. “There will be areas where we can make progress and areas where we disagree. This is diplomacy.

Russia has denied that the build-up of troops on the Ukrainian border was in preparation for an invasion. Above, a satellite image shows the Russian armed forces in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that the United States and its allies pledge not to allow Ukraine and other former Soviet republics to join NATO and to prevent the alliance from expanding further in Eastern Europe.

Putin also wants assurances that the West will not deploy troops or missile systems to Ukraine in response to Russia assembling a force of around 175,000 on Ukraine’s eastern border.

Ryabkov said the US-Russian talks will be held in Geneva and the January 12 NATO meeting will be held in Brussels. The January 13 talks would also involve the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a group that includes the United States, NATO countries, Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states.

President Biden
President Biden attended a virtual summit with Putin earlier this month.

Russia has denied that the build-up of troops is preparing for an invasion, but the United States and its allies believe an attack could come after the first one next year.

In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea, prompting economic sanctions from the United States and its European allies.

President Biden on Monday signed a defense spending bill of $ 768 billion, including $ 300 million for Ukraine’s Security Assistance Initiative to help Kiev acquire the resources to counter it. accumulation of Russian troops.

Christi C. Elwood