US and Russia to hold talks amid Ukraine tensions
Deal reached for talks on 10 January which are likely to be followed by discussions with Nato
US and Russian officials will take part in security talks on 10 January as the countries confront rising tensions over Ukraine, a spokesperson for the Biden administration has said.
Russia and Nato are also likely set for talks on 12 January, while a broader regional meeting including Moscow, Washington and several European countries is set for 13 January, the spokesperson added.
Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Moscow planned to discuss its security demands with Washington on 10 January, the state-run RIA news agency reported.
It also quoted deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying the US response on the subject had so far been “abstract” and that it was crucial that military officials took part in the Nato talks.
Moscow, which has unnerved the west with a troop build-up near Ukraine, has put forward a wish list of security proposals it wants to negotiate, including a promise that Nato would give up any military activity in eastern Europe and Ukraine.
The spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, who declined to be named, said on Monday: “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.
“There will be areas where we can make progress, and areas where we will disagree. That’s what diplomacy is about.”
No decisions would be made about Ukraine without Ukraine, the spokesperson said.
US president Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a massive spending bill that, among other things, will provide $300m for an initiative supporting Ukraine’s armed forces, and billions more for European defence broadly.
The US administration, which thinks Russian president Vladimir Putin is considering an invasion of the former Soviet neighbour Ukraine, has promised swift and brutal sanctions in the case of such an incursion. Russia denies such intentions.
Russian officials had previously confirmed that they intended to participate in January security talks with the US and that they were considering joining the 12 January Nato talks.
Meetings the following day will be hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.