EU allies coordinate their stance with the US ahead of NATO-Russia talks – archyde

Representatives from NATO and Russia will meet in Brussels for a high-level meeting to discuss tensions on Ukraine’s borders. Both sides stopped speaking after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

Moscow wants the US-led military alliance NATO to stay away from Russian borders and withdraw from neighboring Ukraine. (Reuters)

The US and its European allies have coordinated their stance ahead of new NATO-Russia talks to defuse the Ukrainian border crisis as Kiev called for an international summit.

Envoys from Washington and Moscow held fruitless talks in Geneva on Monday about how to avert a confrontation after Moscow stationed troops near Ukraine and demanded far-reaching security concessions.

On Wednesday, NATO will resume suspended contacts with Moscow during a round of talks between high-ranking diplomats from Russia and allied member states at its Brussels headquarters.

The USA hope that diplomacy will fend off what it sees as an implicit threat from Russia with a new military invasion of Ukraine – without lending much weight to Russia’s demands.

“It is too early to say whether the Russians are serious about the path to diplomacy or not, or whether they are ready to negotiate seriously – it is us,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The spokeswoman for US President Joe Biden emphasized: “The relationship between NATO and Ukraine is only a matter for Ukraine and its 30 NATO allies, not for other countries.”

Washington’s European allies, however, do not want to be sidelined as President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin seeks to roll back what he sees as post-Cold War post-Cold War post-war western infiltration into his turf.

CONTINUE READING: US keeps European allies informed in talks with Russia

Kiev welcomes the support of the West against “Russian ultimatums”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on Tuesday reiterated his call for France and Germany to attend a new international summit between Moscow and Kiev to end the conflict.

His spokesman Sergiy Nykyforov also welcomed “the intention and efforts of the United States and Russia, as well as NATO and Russia, to reduce tensions and resolve all common problems at the negotiating table”.

“We trust our partners and their statements that no decision will be made about the fate of Ukraine behind our backs,” he said in a video statement.

In a phone call with his US counterpart, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “unity and coherence of positions” are key to what he called “Russian ultimatums”.

CONTINUE READING: Russia and the US agree on further talks on Ukraine without a major breakthrough

Ukraine seeks to reaffirm ties with US

“Unshakable support”

When the Ukrainian head of state pushed for a revival of the role of Paris and Berlin, US deputy negotiator Wendy Sherman was at NATO headquarters to brief European allies.

She informed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about her talks in Geneva with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and then met NATO ambassadors.

“The United States has pledged to work in lockstep with our allies and partners to call for de-escalation and respond to the security crisis caused by Russia,” she tweeted.

Together with Stoltenberg, Sherman reaffirmed “a unified approach by NATO towards Russia that reconciles deterrence and dialogue” and stressed “our unwavering support for Ukraine”.

After more than seven hours of negotiations in Geneva on Monday, both Russian and US officials offered to continue speaking, but there was no breakthrough.

Russia is represented at NATO by Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, who described the meeting as a “moment of truth” in relations between Russia and NATO.

Moscow’s demands include a concrete guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO.

The Allies have long insisted that membership of NATO is a matter of sovereign states, which they can choose, and have vowed to maintain their open-door policy.

And they threatened Moscow with massive economic and financial sanctions if the massive build-up of troops on the Ukrainian borders and in the already Russian-occupied Crimea turned into a new invasion.

However, after the talks on Monday and before his return to Brussels, Gruschko emphasized: “Our expectations are absolutely realistic and we hope that this will be a serious, in-depth conversation.”

Russia will demand a full alliance response to its demands, he said.

“We will push for a concrete, substantive, article-by-article response to the Russian draft guarantee agreement,” he added.

CONTINUE READING: NATO warns Russia of “substantial costs” of attacking Ukraine before talks

Russia and Ukraine's conflict explained

“Mutual restrictions of the exercises”

Sherman said Russia had provided no evidence that it would not invade nor an explanation of why it dispatched about 100,000 soldiers towards the Ukrainian border.

She had offered de-escalation steps, with Washington and Moscow to agree on mutual limits on missile batteries and exercises.

The new US ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, told reporters the talks could include a “discussion of mutual restrictions on exercises”.

She described the big topics of the talks on Wednesday as “risk reduction, transparency, arms control and different ways in which we communicate with one another – that is, NATO and Russia”.

Russia has been putting intense pressure on Ukraine since 2014 after a revolution toppled a government that sided with the Kremlin against rapprochement with Europe.

Russia has occupied and annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and Moscow is supporting an uprising in eastern Ukraine that killed more than 13,000 people.

CONTINUE READING: USA: Russia has to choose between dialogue and confrontation in Ukraine talks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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