Russia-US security talks in Geneva on January 10 lasted more than 7 hours but did not help the delegations of the two countries to go any further in solving mutual disagreements. The main focus of the talks on Monday was a proposal Moscow sent to the US last month insisting on depriving NATO’s further expansion and deployment of offensive weapons on Russian borders.
The US declared its openness to discuss the placement of its missiles in Europe and the size and scope of NATO military exercises on the continent, but its side represented in the lead by the US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, said that any limits on NATO’s enlargement are a “non-starter”. Besides, she mainly focused on Ukraine, which the US has claimed is under threat of a Russian “invasion.”
Even though she noted that no decision on issues affecting Ukraine would be made without Ukrainian involvement, she also said Russia must withdraw troops allegedly amassed on Ukraine’s border and listed financial and other sanctions the US is prepared to impose on Russia if an invasion occurs. These statements still sound from the US side even though Russian officials have repeatedly said that the country poses no threat to anyone, on the contrary, defending its own security, which is one of the main reasons for the talks happened.
To this, Russian Embassy said that the country has the right to decide for itself where to deploy troops inside the country, and it will continue military exercises.
It is our choice where and when to conduct military exercises on our national territory. We will continue to conduct them because it meets 🇷🇺 security interests.
— Russian Embassy in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) January 11, 2022
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, told reporters he patiently explained to his colleague that there are no plans to “invade” Ukraine and never have been. Russia is training its troops on its own sovereign territory and there is no basis for describing that as an “escalation,” he stressed. As for sanctions, he said the West has “lost the art of dealmaking” and been reduced to threats of ultimatums. Russia, in turn, has just laid its cards on the table and is willing to discuss things openly.
The Americans came prepared to listen to Russian proposals, but have failed to understand the gravity of the situation or the key issues that need to be resolved, Ryabkov noted.
“We are fed up with loose talk, half-promises, misinterpretations of what happened in different negotiations behind closed doors,” he said, referring to the State Department’s claims in recent days that NATO and the US never promised Moscow not to expand NATO to the East. “We do not trust the other side, so to speak. It’s over, enough is enough.”
As reminded, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said in an interview with Russian television that “the issue isn’t about the line which we don’t want someone to cross.”
“The issue is that we have nowhere to fall back to. They [NATO] have squeezed us against such a line that we can’t move around. I have already said – they’ll put missile systems in Ukraine, 4-5 minutes flight time to Moscow. Where can we move? They have simply driven us to such a state that we have to tell them: stop,” the President said.
The Russian senior diplomat also confirmed that the two sides touched on the future of the New START treaty, and strategic stability in general, but said these issues were not central to the discussions, Sputnik reports. Ryabkov suggested that the possibility of additional talks in future will depend on the outcome of the Russia-NATO talks on Wednesday and discussions at the Organization for Co-Operation in Europe on Thursday.