Russia: Talks on Ukraine at ‘dead end’, US sanctions on Putin means severing relations
Russia says talks with the West over the situation around Ukraine have hit a “dead end,” and that there is no reason to hold a new round of negotiations over security guarantees demanded by Moscow regarding NATO’s eastward expansion and Kiev’s membership in the US-led military alliance.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying on Thursday that this week’s rounds of talks with the United States in Geneva and with NATO in Brussels had shown there was a "dead end or difference of approaches," and he saw no reason to sit down again in the coming days to restart the same discussions.
Ryabkov said the United States and its NATO allies were "not ready to meet our key requirements," and only intended to discuss issues of secondary importance to Moscow.
He also said Russian military specialists were providing options to President Vladimir Putin in case the situation around Ukraine worsened, but diplomacy must be given a chance.
The Russian diplomat also accused the Western side of lacking flexibility, and refused to rule out the possibility of Russian troop deployments to Venezuela and Cuba.
Ryabkov and his American counterpart, Wendy Sherman, held on Monday more than seven hours of negotiations, which focused on a wide-ranging new security arrangement that Moscow is seeking with the West over NATO’s eastward expansion and Ukraine’s potential membership in the US-led military alliance.
In press briefings after the talks, the two diplomats spoke of substantial differences. Ryabkov said Russia and the US had “opposite views on what needs to be done,” and Sherman said the Russian proposals had been “simply non-starters to the United States.”
'Necessary measures to be taken if constructive response not heard'
Talks are also underway between Moscow and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, with Russia threatening unspecified consequences if no progress was made in the negotiations on Thursday.
"If we don't hear constructive response to our proposals within reasonable timeframe and aggressive behavior towards Russia continues, we'll have to take necessary measures to ensure strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our national security," the Russian mission to the OSCE said on Twitter, quoting its Ambassador Alexander Lukashevich.
Western governments accuse Russia of planning an invasion of Ukraine amid a military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegation and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.
Recently, Moscow has been especially unsettled by the prospect of Ukraine being admitted to NATO and has warned of serious measures to counteract that scenario. Last month, the Russian government put forth a number of security guarantees that it said it wanted from the West, in particular about Ukraine, and offered to take certain measures in exchange.