Russia sees risk of talks with US ending quickly
A Russian official on Sunday said it is possible that talks between the U.S and Moscow will end quickly, as the two countries prepare for high-stakes meetings in Europe this week.
U.S. and Russian officials are scheduled to participate in talks early this week in Geneva. The two countries are then slated to participate in a NATO-Russian Council meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and huddle at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, however, is now saying discussions could break down after the first meeting.
“I can’t rule out anything, this is an entirely possible scenario and the Americans… should have no illusions about this,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying in Russia’s state-owned RIA news agency, according to Reuters.
Ryabkov also reportedly said that Russia is not prepared to make any concessions.
“Naturally, we will not make any concessions under pressure and in the course of threats that are constantly being formed by the Western participants of the upcoming talks,” he was quoted as saying.
Interfax news agency in Russia quoted Ryabkov saying that Moscow is not optimistic as it approaches the talks with the U.S., according to Reuters. Ryabkov is reportedly leading Russia’s delegation in Geneva.
The talks between Russia and the U.S. come as tensions between the two countries are growing, with the strain largely focused on Ukraine.
Russia has amassed a large number of troops on the border with Ukraine and U.S. intelligence is saying that Moscow is planning a military offensive against the country with 175,000 troops near the border which could occur as early as this year. Russia has denied any plans to invade Ukraine.
Last month, however, a report surfaced that more than 10,000 Russian troops were leaving regions near Ukraine and returning to permanent bases.
Moscow has demanded that the U.S. and NATO reject Ukraine from becoming a member of the alliance in addition to asking that NATO scale back its military deployments, two requests that have been rejected by the U.S. and allies.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters on Saturday that the U.S. is planning to discuss military exercises during Monday’s bilateral talks. The U.S. delegation is also willing to discuss possible agreements with Russia on missile system placements in Europe, according to the administration official.
–Updated at 9:34 a.m.
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