Russia

Russia wants to see progress from security talks within weeks, negotiator says

Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via Associated Press

Russia’s top negotiator on Wednesday said Moscow wants to see progress from security talks with the U.S. within weeks.

U.S. and Russian officials are scheduled to sit for talks on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 in Geneva, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise over Moscow’s buildup of troops along its border with Ukraine. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin said “the result is needed immediately and that’s not a figure of speech.”

“We can’t even talk about months here, let alone years,” he added, declining to specify a concrete deadline.

The tensions between Washington and Moscow are largely centered on Ukraine. In early December, U.S. intelligence indicated that Russia is plotting a military offensive against Ukraine, involving 175,000 troops near the border, which could occur as early as this year.

Just before Christmas, however, reports said that more than 10,000 Russian troops were leaving a number of areas near Ukraine and going back to permanent bases. 

Moscow is demanding that the U.S. and NATO deny Ukraine membership in the alliance and that it scale back its military deployments. The U.S. and allies, however, have rejected the requests and threatened severe economic sanctions against Russia should it again invade Ukraine.

Ryabkov on Wednesday told Bloomberg “I hope this is just a negotiating tactic,” referring to the Washington’s tough public stance.

He said he is looking to assess “the extent to which our American colleagues are receptive to our demands.” 

Ryabkov added that it would be “counterproductive” to outline how Russia would react if the talks between Moscow and the U.S. fail. Putin, however, has suggested that a military response could follow, such as deploying new weapons near the border, though he has not given specifics, according to Bloomberg.

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