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Russia: Security talks with US and NATO set for January

December 22, 2021

The West has expressed concern over Russia's military intentions. Moscow is also seeking assurances from NATO over Ukraine joining the alliance.

Russian military vehicles move during drills in Crimea
Both the US and Russia are ready for talksImage: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/AP/picture alliance

Russian and US negotiators will sit down for security talks early next year in an effort to defuse rising tensions, the Kremlin's top diplomat said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed a first round of talks with the US has been agreed for the beginning of 2020 as he said Russia "doesn't want to take the path of confrontation."

Talks to 'discuss each other's position'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the dialogue should aim for "concrete results and not become drawn out."

"We want these talks," he said in a conference call with reporters. "And, certainly, the talks are held to discuss each other's positions."

Moscow is, however, seeking guarantees over the expansion of NATO, which might include Ukraine, while the West is becoming increasingly concerned over the buildup of Russian military near its southern border.

Last week, Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and Georgia, both former Soviet countries.

In the files, Russia also called for the withdrawal of NATO's military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe, namely the alliance's operating battalions in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

'We need to talk,' says Baerbock

The West has declined to make such pledges but has given a firm commitment to dialogue.

"This means we need to talk even if proposals have been made which are not our negotiating basis," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call.

The two leaders "discussed the increased Russian military presence near Ukraine," a German government statement read.

Scholz also "expressed his concern about the situation and the urgent need for de-escalation" in the region.

jsi/rt (AP, Reuters, dpa)