In Geneva, Russia and the United States held their first meeting today on the crisis surrounding Ukraine. Expectations of negotiations are very low in the coming period: the best outcome seems to be that negotiations can continue.
Consultations between the two countries were at a high level, between the Deputy Foreign Ministers: Wendy Sherman, an experienced diplomat on the US side, and Sergei Rajapakse, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister. Shortly before the meeting, the atmosphere was cold: the two exchanged only a brief glance in front of the cameras. After that, the two did not release any substantial details, they wanted to say that the interview was “candid” (Sherman) and “complicated” (Rjabkov), ambassadors will always do when they make little progress.
Russia, which has amassed a large force on its border with Ukraine, wants a firm commitment to the military future of its neighbors, which Moscow says should never join NATO. Moreover, the Russians want NATO to end all joint military operations in Central and Eastern European countries since 1997.
The Americans and their allies want to prevent the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite the Kremlin’s demands. In this context, tensions have been high since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014. The West imposed sanctions on Russia.
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