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‘Reinforced concrete guarantees’ Here’s what the heads of the Russian and U.S. delegations said after today’s talks in Geneva

Source: Meduza
Denis Balibouse / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA

On Monday, January 11, diplomats from Russia and the United States held a series of security talks in Geneva. Taking place against the backdrop of Russia massing troops along its border with Ukraine, the discussion centered around a set of draft security proposals that Moscow presented to the United States and NATO in December. Speaking to reporters after the talks, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman underscored that no concrete decisions have been made as of yet. Here are their comments to the press, in a nutshell. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov 

The negotiations were complex, deep, and concrete. NATO should abandon the development of the territories of the states that joined the alliance after 1997. Russia does not and cannot have any intentions of attacking Ukraine. We need “reinforced concrete guarantees” that Ukraine and Georgia will never join NATO. We urge the United States to be as responsible as possible. There’s no need to intimidate Russia, this won’t produce results. The situation isn’t hopeless. We will conduct talks with NATO and the OSCE in Brussels, after which concrete decisions can be made.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman

Progress in the negotiations with Russia is possible. A nuclear war cannot be won and we agreed that one should not be unleashed. The United States will not allow anyone to decide whether a country should or should not join NATO. The issue of Ukraine’s accession to the alliance will not be discussed without Kyiv’s participation. If Russia invades Ukraine, it will face sanctions against key financial institutions. The U.S. and Russia aren’t ready to discuss specific agreements yet. So far, we are simply trying to understand each other. 

The text above is an approximate summary of the press briefing that took place after the talks in Geneva, based on reports from TASS and RIA Novosti. Quotes are not necessarily verbatim. 

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