U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security talks at the United States Mission in Geneva, Switzerland January 10, 2022 / REUTERS
ALEKSANDAR NIKOLIC PISAREV
Central news of all world agencies are the eight-hour talks that have just completed between official representatives of Russia and the US in Geneva on issues related to Ukraine and European security. As Civilmedia wrote extensively, according to all assessments, European security is threatened with the enormous buildup of Russian military forces on the border with Ukraine, related to the demands of Moscow to stop the expansion of NATO in the countries of eastern Europe.
The meeting was held in the headquarters of the US Diplomatic Mission Geneva, in an atmosphere of the tensest relations between the superpowers in the last three decades since the end of the Cold War. By the end of the week – on Wednesday, there will be talks between Russia and NATO in Brussels, and then at the OSCE meeting in Vienna.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Switzerland, July 28, 2021 / (Wikimedia commons)
Russia demands the impossible
The views of the two sides have not come closer, as it is obvious that Russia demands complete reshaping of the European security image. On the other hand, the US, NATO and their European allies have a consensus on Russia’s approach and that everything that US and NATO official representatives will say is in line with the European allies. Their assessments are that the main threat to European security in the past twenty years has come from Russia.
Reuters assesses that the United States and Russia in Geneva did not narrow their differences on Ukraine and wider European security, as Moscow insists on the demands that Washington says it cannot accept.
Representative of the Russian delegation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, only repeated Moscow’s demands for a ban on further NATO expansion and an end to the activities of the Alliance in the countries of central and eastern Europe that have entered the Alliance after 1997.
“I underline that for us, it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO. It’s a matter of Russia’s national security. We do not trust the other side and we need solid, iron-clad, legally binding and irrefutable guarantees for that”– said Ryabkov.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation at the talks in Geneva, responded to such demand by simply saying –the US will not allow anyone to undermine NATO’s open door policy and slam the door on the Alliance for aspirants.
“We will not forego on bilateral cooperation with sovereign states that wish to work with United States and will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, about Europe without Europe and about NATO without NATO” – said Sherman.
UN Mission in Geneva
Wendy Sherman, after the talks, stated that the Russian proposals in which Moscow demands guarantees that Ukraine will never join NATO are unacceptable and that Moscow cannot slam the wide-open doors of the North Atlantic Treaty to any country. Free Europe in English, described the talks in Geneva more as „ “serious and businesslike”, rather than concrete negotiations.
Russia is not satisfied with the talks in Geneva. “Unfortunately we have a great disparity in our principled approaches and diametrically opposite views on what needs to be done” – said Sergei Ryabkov. He assessed the talks as complex and professional, but that a greater step forward and compromises are needed for success. He stated at the meeting that “no progress has been achieved” in terms of Moscow’s demands that Ukraine be barred from joining the NATO Alliance. And he insisted –future progress in the negotiations with US diplomats to be dictated on this issue.
Train transporting Russian weapons, most likely 2С19 MSTA-S and BMR howitzers in Kerch, Ukraine, March 27, 2021 (source: citizen journalist)
Russia threatening with missiles
Moscow further denies any such plans to invade Ukraine, but warns that it its demands after this series of talks are not accepted, it will be forced to take certain “military – technical measures“. Moscow has still not specified what exactly this means, but does hint that it could redeploy mid-range hypersonic missiles on the borders with Europe with which it could hit targets with great precision at a distance of 1,000 kilometers and that it would be its response if NATO installs its missiles in Ukraine. Therefore, Russia expects the United States to be willing to a compromise.
Map: Russian military forces at Ukraine borders (freebeacon.com)
The European Union is expected to be an active part of these US – Russia negotiations and dialogue at the talks in Brussels. Since 2014, the EU has provided assistance to the Ukraine in the amount of 17 billion euros. It must be included in the negotiations between the United States and Russia on resolving the Ukraine crisis, because it is also a European crisis, and the security of Europe depends on the security of Ukraine.
The draft documents from the series of talks that will last until the end of the week, are not completed yet and known to the wider public, but it can be sensed that there are strong positions in them with which Russia will never agree, and those being that neither Europe, nor the United States, or any other NATO member will allow Russia to decide for other countries whether they will join NATO or any other alliance. Those are sovereign decisions of those countries and of the very alliances. NATO has open doors and neither Russia, nor any other country can close them.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska