GENEVA, Jan 8 (EFE) — High-level delegations from the United States and Russia held a strategic dialogue in Geneva on Monday in an attempt to defuse current tensions over the Ukraine question, though efforts will continue to be made multilaterally until the next day. will continue from Weeks in Brussels and Vienna.
The US Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, and the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Ryabkov, lead the delegations that meet in Geneva, and that align with the summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in June 2021. want to continue. in a Swiss city.
Third round, but with the first real crisis
The strategic talks, to be held at the US diplomatic mission to the United Nations in Geneva, are the third that Sherman and Rybakov chaired in the Swiss city since July and September last year, although the first is labeled “extraordinary”. Current tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
After unilaterally annexing Crimea in 2014 and supporting pro-Russian separatist movements in the Donbass region, the deployment of thousands of Russian troops to that region has fueled fears of a direct military intervention by Moscow in neighboring Ukraine.
Russia, for its part, fears that the United States and its allies in NATO are seeking a new expansion to the east, and Washington and the Coalition demand guarantees not to give arms to Kiev or deny Russia’s borders and its orbit. Don’t plan to threaten.
Although the new focus of the conflict in Kazakhstan is far from the Ukrainian question, the fact that Russia and other allies have sent troops to the country at the request of the Kazakh government has shown Moscow’s ability to continue with traditional alliances. That class above.
Geneva will be the first touchstone of contacts between Russia and the Americans that will continue during the Russian diplomacy meeting on Wednesday with the Russia-NATO Council on the 12th in Brussels and with the Security and Security Organization on Thursday the 13th in Vienna. Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Senior US diplomats indicated on the eve of a European visit that they would seek a dialogue in Geneva on Monday, particularly focused on bilateral issues, to be more open with them in Brussels and Vienna on problems related to third countries. But can be dealt with. ,
open, but skeptical
“We will listen to the recent treaty proposals raised by Russia and the concerns behind them,” these diplomats told a news conference to report on preparations for the tour, which showed disbelief in the attitude with which they arrived. Russian equivalent.
“We rely on the Russian side to make statements after Monday’s meeting that do not reflect the true nature of the discussions, so we ask our allies to take them with extreme skepticism,” he warned.
Washington appears determined to deny in principle a possible Russian request that the US stop its aid to Ukraine in military and security matters (worth $2.5 billion over the past seven years, as recognized by the US). ).
Aid that, as Biden himself warned Putin, would increase in the hypothetical case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Nor does it appear that Washington is going to be resilient in the face of Russian calls to withdraw nuclear weapons in NATO areas near Russia, a request that it has already started in previous forums.
“As long as nuclear weapons are in place, the NATO nuclear alliance will remain in place,” senior State Department officials said.
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