In light of the increased tension surrounding Ukraine, Russian and American officials are set to hold security talks on January 10, which will provide an opportunity to deliberate each nation’s respective concerns regarding rising military activity in Eastern Europe.
A Biden administration spokesperson announced the January 10 meeting earlier in the week, adding that Russia and NATO also appear likely to hold additional discussions on January 12. In addition, a larger meeting is set to take place between Washington, Moscow, and other European nations on January 13.
Sergei Ryabkov, who serves as the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, also confirmed the aforementioned dates for varied meetings, indicating strong interest in new security guarantees during the course of Russia’s discussion with the United States in Geneva.
Security guarantees tend to be a popular, ongoing demand from Moscow, which has recently made several other nations nervous through amassing tens of thousands of troops near the border of Ukraine in the past two months.
The January 12 NATO meeting is set to be held in Brussels, Belgium, while the January 13 discussion will involve the Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Cooperation, which not only includes the U.S. alongside its varied NATO allies, but also Ukraine, Russia, and varied former Soviet states.
The recent deployment of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine has elevated concerns that Moscow may be launching a fresh attack, especially in light of it annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
However, Moscow claims that it is not planning any assault, though unspecified military actions are possible if the nation’s demands for security are not met. For instance, Russia wants to confirm that NATO will not pursue any additional eastward expansion, and the nation also strongly opposes the deployment of offensive weapons to Ukraine or any nations near Ukraine.
The Biden administration has threatened economic sanctions in response to Russia’s potential attack on the Ukraine. The White House also indicated that Ukraine will not be forcibly blocked from joining NATO, given that Ukraine is a sovereign state.
“When we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will put our concerns on the table with Russia’s activities as well,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson declared. The spokesperson indicated that no decisions regarding Ukraine would be made without Ukraine’s input.
“There will be areas where we can make progress, and areas where we will disagree,” the spokesperson continued drolly, “that’s what diplomacy is about.”
An anonymous American official also informed Reuters that the United States intends to keep the Harry Truman carrier in Europe at this point in time as well, instead of sending it onwards to the Middle East.
However, the official also added that the United States does not have any intention of moving the Harry Truman carrier closer to Ukraine. Moreover, the United States also does not have a warship in the Black Sea despite the current buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine.
President Joe Biden also recently signed a bill that will provide up to $300M for an initiative supporting the armed forces of Ukraine, as well as billions for European defense in general.
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, fully supporting a pro-Russian separatist revolt in Eastern Ukraine. Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, ultimately lost control of an enormous amount of territory in a conflict that resulted in 15,000 deaths.
While significant conflict ended with a 2015 ceasefire, deadly clashes between opposing forces in the region continue on a regular basis.