By Emma Forge
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States and Russia have begun tough talks in Geneva as their diplomats show general distrust, with Washington hoping to avoid the risk of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine without compromising on the Kremlin’s security demands.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said diplomacy would end without even a meeting, and that US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen had lowered expectations for the talks.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Blinken said: “I do not think we’ll see any improvement next week.
With US-Russian relations at a critical juncture since the end of the Cold War three decades ago, talks began between Rybkov and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman at the US Embassy in Geneva. The two did not slip in the eyes as they posed for photos before the meeting.
Earlier, in a Twitter post in Geneva, Sherman said, “The United States will listen to Russia’s concerns and we will share ours.” The discussion will move to meetings in Brussels and Vienna throughout the week.
Eight years after Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, nearly 100,000 Russian troops have gathered on the Ukrainian border in preparation for what Washington and Kiev say could be a new invasion.
Russia denies invasion plans and says the Western military alliance is responding to calls from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Ukraine for aggressive behavior, which has returned to the West and wants to join the Western military alliance.
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