US-Russian talks on the Ukraine crisis began in Geneva
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GENEVA (dpa-AFX) – A bilateral conversation between the USA and Russia on the latest tensions surrounding Ukraine began in Geneva on Monday. US Deputy Foreign Minister Wendy Sherman came to an official meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov after a brief preliminary talk on Sunday evening, as the US State Department announced. The meeting will take place in the US embassy not far from the European headquarters of the United Nations. The focus is on the Russian troop build-up on the border with Ukraine and Moscow’s demand for security guarantees from NATO.
Before the talks, Ryabkov told Russian state television: “The American side must be prepared for compromises.” Russia has formulated clear positions, including at the highest level, from which “one can no longer simply deviate,” said the diplomat.
Russia wants assurances that NATO will not expand further east and a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe. The US regards the Russian troop deployment as an aggressive act and is demanding Russian steps to de-escalate it. The US side also made it clear that the NATO guarantees demanded by Russia did not exist. Each country is free to decide which alliance to join, Sherman said at the preliminary meeting on Sunday, according to the US State Department. The US and allies have threatened massive sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.
According to the US, there will be no agreements on the European security structure in Geneva. According to the US State Department, Sherman emphasized that this would only be decided at the table with the countries involved. / Oe / DP / eas
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