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Ukraine: Washington warns Moscow against “confrontation”

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A few hours earlier, Russia had ruled out any concession for these negotiations. This is completely excluded Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, who is due to take part in the talks, told Russian news agencies.

We are disappointed with the signals coming in recent days from Washington, but also from Brussels, he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for his part, estimated on CNN that there was a channel of dialogue and diplomacy to try to resolve some of these differences and avoid confrontation.

The other path is one of confrontation and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine.

A quote from Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State

We’re about to see which path President Putin is ready to take, he judged.

It is through a face-to-face meeting between the Deputy Foreign Ministers of the two rival powers, the American Wendy Sherman and the Russian Sergei Riabkov, that this high-risk diplomatic week begins.

It will continue with a reunion North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Russia Wednesday in Brussels, then a meeting Thursday in Vienna of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), to include Europeans who fear being marginalized.

A senior White House official clarified that the Russians and the Americans would probably have a first conversation on Sunday evening, before holding their main meeting Monday in Swiss.

Antony Blinken.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Photo: pool / afp via getty images / ANDREW HARNIK

The West and Kiev accuse the Russians of having massed nearly 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border for a potential invasion, and have threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with sanctions massive and unprecedented if it attacked the neighboring country again.

Measures that could go as far as cutting Russia off from the cogs of global finance or preventing the entry into service of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline dear to the Kremlin. The objective: to show that they are more determined this time than in 2014, when Moscow annexed Ukrainian Crimea without the American-European alliance being able to reverse it.

President Putin, who has met twice with his American counterpart Joe Biden since the start of this new crisis, warned that new sanctions would be a colossal mistake and threatened in turn with a response military and technical in case very clearly aggressive line maintenance of its rivals.

Above all, he imposed and obtained to extend the dialogue to several of his demands, however seen as so many red lines by the West.

Because the Kremlin affirms that it is the West which provokes Russia by stationing the soldiers at its gates or by arming the Ukrainian soldiers who fight pro-Russian separatists in Donbass, in the east of Ukraine.

He therefore calls for a major treaty excluding the entry of Ukraine into theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization and the withdrawal of American soldiers from the most eastern countries of the Atlantic Alliance.

Jens Stoltenberg.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General.

Photo: Getty Images / JOHN THYS

However, not only do the Americans assure that they are not ready to reduce their troops in Poland or in the Baltic countries, but on the contrary they threaten to reinforce them if the Russians go on the offensive.

The risk of a new conflict is real.

A quote from Jens Stoltenberg, general secretary of theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization

It is certainly part of their strategy to present a list of absolutely inadmissible demands and then pretend the other side is not playing the game and use that as a justification for aggression., added Antony Blinken.

For John Herbst, former American ambassador to Ukraine, the Russian military deployment is a gigantic bluff of Vladimir Putin to win concessions.

As long as the Biden administration remains at least as firm as it is now, said this expert from the Atlantic Council think tank, that should be enough to keep Putin from invading Ukraine, but I’m not ruling out a more limited operation.

Beyond the Ukrainian crisis, Washington hopes to take advantage of the talks to put US-Russian relations back on track, to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. And maybe get some progress on other issues, like disarmament.

But from Paris to Berlin via Brussels, calls have multiplied to make a real place at the negotiating table for the countries of the Old Continent, and in particular the European Union – in the face of the Kremlin which seems to want to favor a one-to-one meeting. Russian-American head.

A test for the United States of Joe Biden, which, despite the promises of consultation, scalded their European allies by giving the impression of going it alone on Afghanistan or the anti-China strategy.

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