‘Disappointed’ by US signals, Russia rules out concession in talks over Ukraine
Russia’s deputy foreign minister says Moscow is "disappointed" by signals from Washington and Brussels demanding unilateral concessions from the Russian side ahead of talks intended to ease tensions over Ukraine.
Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by Russia’s Interfax and RIA news agencies as making the remark on Sunday, the day before negotiations in Geneva on a wide-ranging new security arrangement that Moscow is seeking with the West over NATO’s eastward expansion.
"We are disappointed with the signals coming in the last few days from Washington but also from Brussels," Ryabkov said. "We will not agree to any concession. That is completely excluded.”
The high-level discussions between US and Russian diplomats are to resume on Monday after a weeks-long standoff over Russian troop deployments near its border with Ukraine.
Western governments accuse Russia of planning “an invasion” of Ukraine. Moscow has rejected the allegations and insisted that the border deployments are defensive in nature.
The Russian government has repeatedly reiterated that the expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine is a red line for Moscow and that any future expansion must exclude Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.
Last month, the Russian government made demands on NATO and Ukraine about the future of their relationship, calling on the Western military alliance to deny Ukraine membership to NATO and to roll back its military deployments.
Moscow also proposed that the US not establish any military bases in former Soviet states that are not part of NATO, nor develop a bilateral military alliance with them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously warned that Moscow will act if the US-led NATO military alliance crosses its red lines in Ukraine.