The US and Russia are in talks to end the Ukraine border crisis. The two sides have reportedly agreed on a military liaison line that could bring an end to tensions following an alleged Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory last month. Experts say the summit is key to ending the conflict because of its importance as a diplomatic tool, considering it comes at a time when both countries’ relations with each other are arguably more strained than ever before.
Following a working dinner on Sunday evening, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov met on Monday morning in Geneva, Switzerland.
The negotiations come after months of unrest along the Ukraine-Russia border, where tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered.
“When it comes to the security of our European friends and partners, including Ukraine,” the spokesman added, “the United States is dedicated to the concept of ‘nothing about you, without you.” “We are tethered to our friends and partners at every level, and we will remain so in the days and weeks ahead.”
The meetings, which have been described as a last-ditch effort to prevent a conflict on Europe’s eastern frontier, will be eagerly watched by the international community. At the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Wednesday, a Russian team will meet with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already ruled out a breakthrough. “In a context of escalation, with a gun to Ukraine’s head, it’s difficult to envision making meaningful progress, rather than just talking. So, if we’re going to make progress, we’re going to have to see de-escalation, Russia withdrawing from the danger it now provides to Ukraine,” Blinken remarked on CNN’s “State of the Union” program “on the following Sunday
“We’re here because Russia has regularly engaged in acts of aggression against its neighbors over the past decade — Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine in 2014, and now the fresh danger against Ukraine today,” he continued.
“It’s not about making concessions, either. It’s about determining if there are things that both parties, or both sides, can do to lessen tensions in the framework of conversation and diplomacy “Blinken said.
Ryabkov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the Sunday meal between him and Sherman was “tough but businesslike.” “At first, it was evident that their strategy was to immerse our ideas, suggestions, and methods in the technology world via the lens of diplomacy as it has evolved over the decades.”
Sherman “emphasized the United States’ commitment to the international values of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the independence of sovereign states to select their own alliances,” according to a State Department readout of the meal.
Ryabkov said “We are not surprised by the American stance, which was at least openly expressed before the events, and we are prepared for it. Let’s see how things turn out in the end.”
Despite warnings from US President Joe Biden and European leaders that an invasion by Putin would be disastrous, up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have remained stationed near the Ukrainian border. According to US intelligence conclusions released this month, Russia might launch a military attack in Ukraine as early as 2022.
In a phone chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month, Biden said that the US and its allies “would react strongly if Russia continues to occupy Ukraine.”
Mick Krever and Nic Robertson of CNN contributed to this story.