(Washington) A senior White House official said Saturday that the United States is ready to talk with Russia about the two countries’ missile hardware and military exercises, discussions that may begin Sunday evening in Geneva.
US and Russian diplomats are meeting in Switzerland to try to defuse tensions over Ukraine, while the United States and Europeans accuse Moscow of preparing a new invasion of Ukraine.
There are certain areas […] in which we believe it may be possible to make progress, “provided that any promise is ‘mutual’,” the source recalled, giving some details about a conference call.
Russia has said it feels threatened by the possible deployment of offensive missile systems in Ukraine. […] The United States has no intention of doing so. “This is an area where we can find an agreement if Russia agrees to the mutual commitment,” said the senior official, who asked not to be identified.
The official said that Moscow “also expressed interest in discussing the future of certain missile systems in Europe, in accordance with the principles of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty” and “we are open to a discussion” on this topic. senior official.
The source said Washington is finally ready to discuss “the possibility of reciprocal restrictions on the scale and scope” of military exercises conducted by Russia, the United States and NATO.
He warned that “we will not know until we start these talks tomorrow evening whether Russia is ready to discuss seriously and in good faith,” adding that the Russians and Americans “may have a first conversation Sunday evening,” before holding their talks. Monday’s main meeting in Switzerland.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is scheduled to meet with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Ryabkov, on Sunday evening, according to a State Department spokesperson.
“We are approaching these discussions with realism, not optimism,” the source added, noting that they would be “exploratory” and would not lead to firm promises.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian media started reporting, perhaps even while the talks were in progress, that the United States had made all kinds of concessions to Russia. This is a deliberate attempt to create divisions among allies, in part by manipulating you,” he told reporters in his conference call.
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