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Ukraine conflict: Russia does not want any further talks with the West for the time being


Crisis diplomacy in Geneva and Brussels failed to bring about a breakthrough in the Ukraine crisis – tensions between Russia and the West persist. For the time being, Moscow sees no point in further exchanges.

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Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accuses Western partners of a lack of "flexibility".

Photo: Denis Balibouse / dpa

After the intensive diplomatic exchange of the past few days, Russia sees no need for further talks with the West about the Ukraine crisis for the time being.

"I don't see any reason to sit down and start the same discussions again in the coming days," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RTVI on Thursday while the EU defense and foreign ministers were still deliberating in Brest, France.

Ryabkov accused the Western partners of a lack of "flexibility" in conducting negotiations on "serious issues."

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the West has promised written answers to Moscow's demands next week.

Both the US and NATO held talks with Russia this week to ease tensions over the Ukraine crisis.

However, two rounds of talks, on Monday in Geneva and on Wednesday in Brussels, did not bring any breakthrough.

Meanwhile, representatives of the EU states in Brussels on Thursday extended the economic sanctions against Russia by a further six months.

The EU imposed trade and investment restrictions after a Malaysian plane carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

According to investigations, the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

In view of a massive Russian troop deployment on the border with Ukraine, the West is concerned that Russia is currently preparing to invade the neighboring country after annexing Crimea in 2014.

The Kremlin categorically rejects this.

At the same time, he is demanding agreements from the USA and NATO that would ban the eastward expansion of NATO and the establishment of US military bases in countries in the former Soviet sphere of influence.

OSCE speaks of "unpredictable environment"

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to which Russia also belongs, met on Thursday for a third round of talks in Vienna. At the opening, Secretary General Helga Schmid emphasized the "urgency" of resuming dialogue on security in Europe. In view of an "unpredictable environment" the "escalation must be stopped and the reconstruction of trust, transparency and cooperation started".

The extended economic sanctions against Russia are now valid until the end of July, as announced by the EU Council.

Senators from US President Joe Biden's Democratic Party on Wednesday threatened serious consequences if Russia invaded Ukraine, including sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian banks, as well as $500 million in new security aid Ukraine.

Kremlin warns against sanctions against Putin

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the draft sanctions as "extremely negative" and warned the United States against punitive measures against Putin.

"The imposition of sanctions on a head of state would cross a line, that would mean a severing of relations," he said.

The Kremlin spokesman also called the recent talks with the West "unsuccessful".

Meanwhile, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in Berlin that it was important "to try to develop a constructive path".

It must be "our common task to do everything to ensure that this situation is de-escalated".

Baerbock wants to focus on toughness - and on dialogue

In Brest, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) insisted on a European signal of unity towards Russia: "We are making it clear here that there can only be security in Europe together with Europe and that we are united here," she said at the meeting with her EU representatives. Colleagues. She pleaded for "a role that is based on hardness, but also on dialogue".

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned Russia against an attack on Ukraine: "If something happens militarily, all doors will be closed again for 20 years," said Asselborn.

"That can't be in Russia's interest." EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced that the Europeans also want to train Ukrainian officers to defend against cyber attacks.

"It's high-level training for senior staff in the Ukrainian army," Borrell said.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-01-13

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