No breakthrough in US-Russia talks over Ukraine

Talks between Russia and the US were described as "professional" but did not bring the two sides any closer together over the Ukraine situation. Keystone / Denis Balibouse

Talks between Russia and the United States in Geneva have failed to resolve differences between the two countries over increasing tensions in Ukraine.

This content was published on January 10, 2022 minutes

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had little progress to report after the eight-hour meeting on Monday.

The talks centred on the fraught situation in Ukraine, with the US accusing Russia of threatening behaviour by increasing troops on the border. Russia accused the US and western European countries of undermining its national security by interfering in Ukraine’s affairs.

“The conversation was difficult, but very professional, profound and concrete,” said Ryabkov on Monday evening. “I would say: no, we have not been able to improve the situation.”

Sherman said the discussions had been “open and direct” but neither side had been prepared to move from their previous positions. She said that Ukraine must be allowed to join NATO should it wish.

“This week Russia will hear a unified message from the United States and our allies and partners that it is up to Russia to de-escalate tensions so that we have a real chance of finding diplomatic solutions.”

The Geneva talks will be followed by a Russia-NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and one in Vienna on Thursday of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Ukraine is also a member.

Both sides had dampened expectations in the run-up to the meetingExternal link, with the US calling for Moscow to de-escalate on Ukraine and Russia saying it will make “no concessions”. A US government spokesperson told the press that no firm commitments should be expected from the exploratory talks.

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