Ukraine | Moscow rejects any “concession” during talks with Washington

(Moscow) Russia ruled out, on Sunday, making any “concessions” in high-risk talks with the United States in Geneva on Ukraine and security in Europe, saying it was “disappointed” by the “signals” sent by Washington.

We will not accept any concessions. “This is absolutely unlikely,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is due to take part in the negotiations, told Russian news agencies.

“We are disappointed by the signals received in recent days from Washington, but also from Brussels,” he added.

After that, Ryabkov said that if there is no progress at the first meeting on Monday, Russia may decide not to continue negotiations.

“It is a very likely scenario […] “If we go around in circles, if we don’t see that the other side is willing to take our priorities into consideration, and to respond constructively, then the dialogue will be useless,” he said.

Photo by Maxim Shemetov, Reuters

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Representatives of Russia and the United States will meet in Geneva on Sunday evening before a crucial meeting the next day on Ukraine and security in Europe amid rising tensions.

The West accuses Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops on the border of neighboring Ukraine in anticipation of a possible invasion, a charge Moscow denies.

The talks, due to be held in Geneva, were held after Russia made demands to “guarantee its security”. At the top of its demands is NATO’s “legal” commitment not to integrate Ukraine and the withdrawal of US soldiers from the farthest NATO countries in the east.

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Several Western officials have described these demands as “unacceptable.”

Last month, US President Joe Biden threatened his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, with “unprecedented” sanctions if Moscow attacks Ukraine.

“It is very likely that we will encounter the reluctance of our American and NATO colleagues to realize what we really need,” Ryabkov said on Sunday.

Despite the “threats that are constantly formulated against us […] “We will not make any concessions,” he continued, adding that it amounts to “acting against our own interests, and against our security interests.”

Eastern Ukraine has been torn apart since 2014 by the conflict between Kiev’s forces and pro-Russian separatists that erupted after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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