Russia warns that US does not understand its goals for Ukraine

GENEVA – A senior Russian official on Sunday warned that the United States is entering this week’s high-stakes security talks with a “lack of understanding” of Moscow’s demands, maintaining tough rhetoric that some Western analysts and officials see as a possible prelude. to Russia’s new military action against Ukraine.

The official, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov, gave a pessimistic tone to the talks between Russian and American diplomats in Geneva, in remarks made by Russian news agencies. Mr Ryabkov said he intends to negotiate “dynamically, without pause”, to prevent the West from “holding all this and burying it in endless discussions”.

Mr. Ryabkov will meet Wendy R. Sherman, the Biden administration’s deputy secretary of state, for a working dinner on Sunday before a more formal meeting on Monday.

Russia is seeking what it calls “security guarantees” from the United States, and the NATO alliance will essentially grant it a sphere of influence that includes Ukraine and other post-Soviet states in Eastern Europe. . The Kremlin supported those demands by tens of thousands of troops and equipment near its border with Ukraine, signaling that the country is ready to use force if diplomacy fails.

The United States has indicated it is ready to discuss things like missile bases and military exercises in the region, but Ryabkov said on Sunday that Russia’s goal in the talks would be goes beyond arms control issues. The signals sent by US officials before the talks “reflect a lack of understanding of what we need,” according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Mr. Ryabkov said that Russia would seek to recalibrate its relationship with the West that was introduced with the NATO-Russia Creation Act of 1997. That agreement was followed by participating countries in the former Soviet sphere of influence. Western alliance, and many in Moscow see it as a disregard for Russia’s security interests in Europe.

“We need to make sure that we limit NATO’s destructive activities that have been going on for decades and put NATO back in a position that is essentially the same as it was in 1997,” Ryabkov said, according to Interfax news agency. “But precisely on these issues, we have heard little of any willingness on the part of the US and NATO to come to an agreement.”

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