Russia and NATO meet to seek common sense in the current standoff
The West and Russia are facing each other several times this week in talks about the tensions that have arisen around Ukraine. An overview of what the parties are going to discuss and what they expect.
The tension between Russia and the West has been increased by the Russian troops building up near the border with Ukraine. Satellite images show that in recent times the Russians have sent much more military personnel and equipment to the border area.
NATO fears that Russia is considering invading Ukraine. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula in the south of Ukraine, inhabited mostly by Russians. The West fears that Russia will try to occupy the rest of Ukraine militarily.
Russia, in turn, says it is sending troops in response to NATO’s “provocative push for expansion”. The Russians say they feel threatened if NATO territory reaches the Russian border. That would happen if Ukraine joined the Treaty Organization. There are no concrete plans for this.
The Americans have already said they will act” resolutely ” if Ukraine is invaded by Russia. In that case, Europe wants to move together with the Americans. The Russians threatened to place missiles that could reach Europe.
This week’s talks are intended as an attempt to reduce tensions. However, both sides already expressed concern that this will not succeed, because the starting points seem incompatible. For the time being, the most feasible outcome of the summit seems to be that the parties are planning a new round of talks.
Moscow demands far-reaching security guarantees from the West, such as the promise that Ukraine can never join NATO. Washington has already called that demand “unacceptable” and international experts also find the Russian list of requirements not realistic.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that it would be difficult to make progress if constant escalation threatens and”a gun is held to Ukraine’s head”.
Russia has made it clear that it will not make concessions during the international summit. “That is completely out of the question,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said according to Russian media. “We are disappointed by the signals coming from Washington and Brussels in recent days.”
According to the New York Times, the US is already working with the allies on a tough package of sanctions to punish Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. It involves financial, technological and military punitive measures. In the event of military escalation, these can be imposed within a few hours.
The series of meetings will begin on Monday, when the United States and Russia will hold a security consultation with each other in Gen. The Swiss city was also the backdrop of the talks between US president Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last June. This time, the talks will be led by Deputy Foreign Ministers Ryabkov (Russia) and Wendy Sherman (USA).
In addition to Ukraine, nuclear armament is also high on the list of topics of conversation. While the Americans and Russians are speaking in Gen Kardashve, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg receives the Ukrainian Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels that same day.
On Wednesday, the talks between NATO, of which the Americans are also part, and Russia are scheduled. The meeting will take place at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
On Thursday, the Russians will talk to the organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In Ukraine, it monitors compliance with the ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government army.