The Biden administration has signaled it is unwilling to cede to Moscow’s demands and has threatened retaliation against Russia if it were to invade Ukraine. As a result, the likelihood of a breakthrough on Monday is low, according to officials.
“The American side must prepare for compromises,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is leading the talks for Moscow, told Russian state TV on Monday. “The Russian side came here with a clear position…that there simply cannot be deviations from our approaches,” Mr. Ryabkov said.
The U.S. has said it wants dialogue and diplomacy to try to resolve some of the two nations’ differences and avoid a confrontation, but Washington has underscored that it won’t allow Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine to jeopardize European security.
“The U.S. will listen to Russia’s concerns and share our own, but we have been clear, we will not discuss European security without our allies and partners,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Washington’s lead negotiator at the talks, tweeted Monday.
To encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the situation, U.S. officials said the Biden administration is prepared to discuss limits on intermediate-range missiles in Europe as well as reciprocal restrictions on the scope of military exercises on the continent.
But Washington has also warned of significant consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine, including economic sanctions.
More on the U.S.-Russia Talks
Preliminary negotiations between Moscow and Washington began Sunday evening and were described by Mr. Ryabkov as “complex but businesslike,” Russian news agencies reported.
Discussions will continue on Wednesday in Brussels with officials from NATO and then the following day in Vienna with senior officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Ukraine and Russia are members.
No time limit has been set for Monday’s negotiations, Russia’s state news agency, TASS, reported.
The wrangling over Ukraine comes as Mr. Putin contends with a crisis in neighboring Kazakhstan, where he has deployed troops to help shore up the embattled government following violent protests over social and political discontent. He has signaled that he won’t tolerate any threat to what he views as Russia’s inviolable sphere of influence.
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