WASHINGTON – At the risk of the future of Ukraine and potentially the post-Cold War European stability, the United States and Russia are conducting strategic negotiations that shape their future but will also shape US relations with its NATO allies. Expectations are bleak.
Although the immediate threat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine tops the agenda of Monday’s high-level meetings, there is a litany of escalating but often unrelated issues, ranging from arms control to Washington to cybercrime and diplomatic issues. In order to ease tensions Moscow has to overcome. The deployment of Russian forces to Kazakhstan may cast shadow on the exercise.
Both sides warned of the dire consequences of the failure, putting themselves in a flurry of activity in Europe this week. The wide variation in their starting positions makes them sick of any kind of quick resolution, and levels of distrust are higher than any other level since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“I don’t think we’re going to see any progress in the coming week,” said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on LOVEBYLIFE’s “State of the Union.” He said the most positive outcome was a deal to reduce tensions in the short term and return to negotiating at the right time.
Blinken said any moves by the United States, NATO and Europe should be “mutually exclusive” and the West would not accept any unilateral concessions.
“If we really want to make progress, we need to look at escalating,” he said.
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The US, Russia has what it takes for everything
On Saturday, US officials unveiled some details of the administration’s stance, which fell short of Russian demands. The United States is open to discussions about curtailing potential deployments of offensive missiles in Ukraine and setting limits on US and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, if Russia is willing to back off from Ukraine.
Russia will be hit hard with economic sanctions if it intervenes in Ukraine. In addition to direct restrictions on Russian entities, penalties may include restrictions on products exported from the USA to Russia and foreign-made products subject to US jurisdiction.
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NATO does not expand to the east, and Russia is initially seeking negotiations to prepare formally binding security guarantees with pledges to remove US troops and weapons from parts of Europe. The United States and its allies said Moscow was deliberately nonstarter designed to distract and divide. He insists that any Russian military intervention in Ukraine, despite global ripples, will provoke “massive consequences” that will disrupt the Russian economy.
The Russian side made clear on Sunday that it expects the talks to yield results.
“This is a conversation between Russian professionals and American partners, and we see Americans presenting themselves … our experts have gone there with a desire to participate in concrete work,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
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Concerns about the Russian image of meetings
The Biden administration stressed that neither Ukraine nor Europe could be excluded more broadly from any discussion of security.
Senior American and Russian diplomats will sit in Geneva on Monday before big, more inclusive meetings in Brussels and Vienna on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine” and “Nothing about Europe without Ukraine” have become almost clichನಲ್ಲಿ in Washington, and senior US officials have said they expect Russia to try to provoke a split on Monday’s meeting.
“We fully expect that the Russian side will make public comments after Monday’s meeting, which do not reflect the true nature of the discussions,” said a senior US official participating in the talks. The officer was not authorized to speak in public and spoke on condition of anonymity.
That officer and others have urged allies to “watch with extreme skepticism” at what Moscow says about so-called Strategic Stability Talks and wait until American participants are informed to formulate opinions.
Blinken says Russia threatens global unity
Blinken accused Russia of “gaslighting” and mounting a full-fledged misinformation campaign designed to reduce tensions and Western unity in Ukraine, NATO and the United States. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin has been engaged in a total war over the past decade over the fact that he ignores Russian provocative and destabilizing measures.
“Russia seeks to challenge the international system and dismantle our trans-Atlantic alliance, destroy our unity, undermine democracy,” Blinken said Friday, reviewing the list of Russian activities in Ukraine and Georgia, from military intervention to chemicals. Support for arms attacks, cyber crime and dictators on Putin’s critics of electoral interference in the USA and elsewhere.
Despite several conversations between President Joe Biden and Putin, including a personal meeting last summer, Blinken said such behavior would continue, increasing the risk for global action after World War II.
Thus, warnings and “extreme costs” for Russia if escalated against Ukraine have intensified the US and Allied effort to form common positions. Though expressions of unity were coming, Blinken was not optimistic about the prospects for success in negotiations.
“There is so much progress to be made – and we hope there is – that it will be very difficult to make real progress, if not impossible, in a climate aggravated by Russia,” he said.
Putin has said that Russia has nowhere to retreat
Russia has made the narrative that it is a victim of the threat of Western aggression and wants instant results from meetings.
Putin has repeatedly warned that Moscow would have to resort to unspecified “military-technical measures” if the West were to stone Russian demands, and he confirmed that Ukraine had a red line that did not allow Moscow to deploy NATO membership or allied weapons. West to cross.
“We have nowhere to retreat,” Putin said last month, adding that NATO missiles could be deployed in Ukraine that would take four or five minutes to reach Moscow. “They have pushed us to the point where we can’t cross.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is leading the Russian delegation in the Geneva talks from US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, said last week that it would soon be clear whether the talks could be productive.
“It is clear that we can make rapid progress after next week’s events. We will move forward quickly on issues of interest,” he said in an interview with Izvestia daily.
“So far, we have heard some abstract comments from the US, NATO and others about the importance of emphasizing dialogue and escalating Russia,” he said. “The irresistible and fairly intense military and geopolitical developments of NATO’s proximity to the Russian borders, where the emergence of weapon systems, the activation of drills, have little rational implications.”
On Sunday evening, Ryabkov and Sherman will meet over a work dinner to discuss matters for the next day, according to a US official.