(JustPatriots.com)- On Monday, officials from the US and Russia held bilateral talks as part of the previously agreed Strategic Security Dialogue that President Biden and Russian President Putin announced during their Geneva summit in June of 2021.
The US and Russian delegations, headed up by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, discussed arms control and continued nuclear deterrence, as well as the current tensions along the Ukraine/Russian border.
Both sides described Monday’s meeting as professional and candid, but ultimately inconclusive.
After Monday’s talks, Sergei Ryabkov denied that Russia had any plans to invade Ukraine. However, he also warned that if the West would not agree to pull back NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe and reject Ukraine’s request for NATO membership, there would be consequences that would place the security of Europe at risk.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin said Monday’s bilateral talks left no reason for optimism either on Ukraine or wider European security.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday’s talks had been substantive, direct, and open, however it was too soon to draw any conclusions from the talks.
After Wednesday’s NATO meeting in Belgium, both Russian and NATO officials said they remained far from agreement. While the US and NATO had hoped Wednesday’s meeting would calm tensions between Moscow and the West, they admitted that differences wouldn’t be easy to bridge.
Alexander Grushko, one of Russia’s deputy foreign ministers told reporters said Wednesday’s discussion was “honest, direct, deep, and comprehensive,” but added that there is still “a great amount of divergence on fundamental questions.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO allies have urged Russia to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine. However, Russian officials refused to commit to pulling back troops, though they did not outright reject the demand either.
Russia has long maintained that it wants guarantees that NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe will stop and Russia be allowed to control the foreign policy choices of former Soviet states like Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
But Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the US delegation in this week’s talks, said some of Russia’s demands are “simply non-starters.”