Russia and the United States have opened the doors to Ukrainian diplomacy, but there are big gaps

  • Moscow says the US response ignores its main concerns
  • ‘Serious’ dialogue on some topics is still possible
  • Ukraine expects diplomacy to continue for the next two weeks
  • China has called for peace on all sides

Moscow / Washington, Jan 27 (Reuters) – It is clear that the United States is not ready to address its key security concerns in the conflict over Ukraine, but the two sides have opened the door for further talks.

The United States and NATO submitted written responses on Wednesday to Russia’s calls for a reshuffle of troops near Ukraine, and Russia’s calls for a redesign of post – Cold War security arrangements in Europe, prompting fears of a Western invasion.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said US and NATO statements describing Moscow’s need time to reconsider and not rush to conclusions, but that Russia’s key demands were unacceptable, were not giving much hope.

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“Based on what our (US and NATO) colleagues said yesterday, it is quite clear that in the key categories outlined in those draft documents … our thoughts cannot be said to have been taken into account or taken into account. Our concerns are taken into account,” Peskov said. “But we will not rush with our estimates.”

The subtle Kremlin reaction shows that Russia did not reject the US and NATO responses or close the door to diplomacy. Washington and its allies say they hope Russia will study their answers and return to the negotiating table.

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“We are united in our desire for diplomacy, but we are united in our determination that if Moscow rejects our dialogue, the costs must be quick and drastic,” Victoria Nuland, the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, told reporters. .

Russia’s foreign ministry says the best way to reduce tensions is to remove NATO forces from Eastern Europe. U.S. officials say President Vladimir Putin has not yet decided whether to invade.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Alexei Zaitsev said: “We have already stated repeatedly that our country does not intend to attack anyone. “Even the idea of ​​a war between our people is unacceptable.”

Weak diplomacy

With weeks of careful conversation still not making much progress, US President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter that he had discussed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky the possibility of “joint action for the future” and the possibility of financial assistance.

Russia’s defense demands put forward in December include an end to NATO expansion, a halt to Ukraine’s permanent involvement, and the withdrawal of coalition forces and weapons from allied Eastern European countries after the Cold War.

The US and NATO responses have not been made public, but both have already rejected those demands, while expressing interest in engaging in arms control, confidence-building measures and the extent and limitations of military exercises.

China has told the United States that all parties involved in Ukraine must remain calm and “refrain from doing things that could provoke tensions and provoke a crisis.”

Was in Washington Own news For Beijing, Nuland said.

“We call on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to emphasize diplomacy, because if there is a conflict in Ukraine it will not be good for China either,” he said.

Policy experts say Washington cannot expect China’s support in its position, as China-Russia relations are at an all-time high. read more

Western nations have warned that sanctions will be imposed if Russia invades Ukraine, Moscow has been building up measures imposed since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian separatists have begun fighting with Kiev government forces in eastern Ukraine.

But there are differences between the United States and its EU allies, which rely on Russia for a third of its gas supply. Washington is in talks with Germany to ensure that the Russia-Germany pipeline, which divides Russia if it invades Ukraine, does not go ahead.

“(We) continue to have very strong and clear conversations with our German allies. If Russia invades Ukraine, I would like to be clear with you today. Nort Stream 2 It’s not moving forward, “Nuland said.

The United States has sought to reassure the EU that if Russia cuts them off, it will help find alternative gas sources, but global supplies are scarce. read more

A day after Ukrainian, Russian, German and French diplomats discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine and agreed to further talks, Russia’s foreign minister said he hoped to begin serious dialogue with the United States, but only on secondary issues.

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Weapons built-up

Putin, who has not spoken publicly about the crisis for weeks, has warned that if Russia’s demands are ignored, an unspecified “military-technical response” could be linked to missile deployments, defense analysts say.

A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said a nuclear missile crisis between Moscow and Washington was inevitable without measures to ensure control and prognosis.

The official, Vladimir Ermakov, was quoted by TASS news agency as saying that Moscow believes that Washington is preparing to deploy short- and intermediate-range missiles to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Biden has said he will not send US or allied forces to fight Russia in Ukraine, but has said NATO will keep forces ready and strengthen Eastern Europe with more ships and warplanes.

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Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen, Natalia Zinets in Kyiv, Matthias Williams, Dmitry Antonov, Vladimir Soldatkin, and David Brunsell Written by Heritage, edited by Nick McPhee, Gareth Jones and Grant McCauley

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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