•   
  •   
  •   

Politics US pushes unity on Ukraine ahead of key Russia meetings

07:29  05 january  2022
07:29  05 january  2022 Source:   msn.com

Russia, U.S. to Discuss NATO Expansion Next Week as Tensions Remain High With Ukraine

  Russia, U.S. to Discuss NATO Expansion Next Week as Tensions Remain High With Ukraine Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the talks in an interview on Monday, which come after thousands of troops left the Russian-Ukrainian border.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the talks in an interview on Monday. He said that the "main work of negotiations" will occur after Russia celebrates its holiday season, which lasts through January 9, 2022. Lavrov stressed Russia will make sure its proposals " aren't wound up in endless discussions, which the West is famous for and which it knows how to do, that there is a result of all these diplomatic efforts.

Putin has demanded the United States and its allies provide signed assurances excluding any expansion of NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia and limiting military activity near Russia ’s borders, most notably in and around Ukraine . Putin has long railed against NATO expansion into former Warsaw Pact states as a disrespectful encroachment on Moscow. He said a concrete agreement must “rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia ’s territory.”

“If we , the West, look like we are not cohesive and ready to work together, then the risk of the Kremlin making a terrible miscalculation goes up.” American intelligence officials have told allies that Mr. Putin has grown frustrated with the peace process set up by France and Germany in 2014 after Russia annexed With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany leaving the world stage, there is less pressure on Ukraine to make concessions. Without a coalition in Germany, there is little leadership in Berlin. Rising energy prices have made Europe more dependent on cheap Russian gas supplies, especially

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a display of unity, the Biden administration and its European allies are beginning a series of meetings aimed at showing Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would be met with a forceful response.

In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone from his private residence in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. The Biden administration and its European allies are beginning a series of meetings aimed at showing Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would be met with a forceful response.(Adam Schultz/The White House via AP) © Provided by Associated Press - Sports In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone from his private residence in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. The Biden administration and its European allies are beginning a series of meetings aimed at showing Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would be met with a forceful response.(Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

Using virtually identical language, the U.S. and its European allies have several times in the past month issued joint and individual messages advising Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country will face "massive consequences” and “severe costs” if he goes ahead with further military intervention in Ukraine.

Putin's Ukraine delusions threaten Russians

  Putin's Ukraine delusions threaten Russians Central to Putin's view of Russian power is his contention that Ukraine is a Russian appendage led astray by the West.Paranoia drives Putin's overreach, whether he's issuing security ultimatums to the West or justifying media crackdowns at home. He frequently relies on rhetorical sleight of hand: He lumps the boogeyman of NATO expansion and independent news outlets together as "threats to the Russian Federation." But neither Moscow's supposed adversaries abroad nor its invented enemies within are threats to Russia or Russians. They are threats to Putin's regime and his conception of his own power.

When Ukrainians deposed their pro- Russian president in 2014, Russia seized and then annexed the southern Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and Russian -backed separatists captured large swathes of Ukraine 's two eastern regions collectively known as the Donbas. So even if the US refuses to recognise Russia 's "red lines" on Ukraine joining Nato or anything else, how far will its "strong economic and other measures" go to help Kyiv? The biggest tools in the West's armoury appear to be sanctions and supporting the Ukrainian military.

"The US State Department through diplomatic channels brings to its allies and partners absolutely false information about the concentration of forces on the territory of our country for a military invasion of Ukraine ," said Sergei Ivanov, head of the SVR's press bureau. Ukraine 's tone has also changed significantly since being briefed by the US . At the beginning of the month, Ukrainian officials downplayed reports that Russia was massing forces near the border. Now, following extensive meetings between US and Ukrainian officials, Ukraine 's defense intelligence chief Brig.

Yet the severity of the response hinges largely on Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and a diplomatic heavyweight within the 27-nation European Union. Potential actions — be they economic, diplomatic or political — will top the agenda in talks in Washington on Wednesday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The Blinken-Baerbock meeting will follow a telephone call last week between President Joe Biden and Putin, a conversation Sunday between Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and a group discussion Tuesday among Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his counterparts from the five Nordic nations.

It will precede a flurry of meetings involving NATO foreign ministers, senior U.S. and Russian officials, the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe set for next week.

Biden-Putin call ushers in new phase of diplomacy

  Biden-Putin call ushers in new phase of diplomacy Russia was again urged to ease its military buildup near Ukraine ahead of a pivotal month of talks.But they also expressed hope that more formal “strategic stability talks” between Washington and Moscow set for January on myriad issues could lead to a path out of the current crisis that Russia says is intended to prevent Ukraine from joining the Western alliance.

Deeply concerned about Russia 's military build-up along Ukraine 's border, the Western military alliance has been seeking a meeting of the NATO- Russia Council for months but the forum seemed in jeopardy after an espionage dispute in October. The meeting of the council, a format used for dialogue since Maria Zakharova, Russia 's foreign ministry spokesperson, confirmed that Russian officials will attend the NATO meeting in Brussels. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and other senior Russian officials are expected to attend the Brussels talks, after meeting U . S . Deputy Secretary of

“President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine ,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement following the call. Psaki added that Biden underscored his commitment to the principle of “nothing about you without you," the tenet Biden has spoken of hitting Russia with economy-jarring sanctions if it moves on Ukraine 's territory, but he said last month that U . S . military action is not on the table. The Kremlin has demanded that any further expansion of NATO exclude Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.

Baerbock, the top diplomat in the first German government in 16 years not headed by Angela Merkel, has struck a tougher tone on Russia than her predecessor. She has warned that Moscow will pay a “high political and economic price” if it makes any militaristic moves against Ukraine.

Ahead of her trip to Washington, Baerbock underlined the importance of the trans-Atlantic alliance and its basis in common values and respecting international law. She said Germany is “determined to act together to defend the peaceful order in Europe,” with particular attention to Russia.

“With regard to Russia, the common message of the European and American governments is clear. Russian actions come with a clear price tag (and) the only way out of the crisis is through dialogue,” she said.

“We have made this very clear time and again to the Russian government in recent days and weeks,” she said. “We’re now going into a decisive phase, in which there will be important talks at various levels. And even though the formats of the talks vary, our message as trans-Atlantic partners to the government in Moscow is always the same."

Biden to speak with Ukrainian president as US warns against Russian

  Biden to speak with Ukrainian president as US warns against Russian President Joe Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, several days after Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border.President Joe Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, several days after Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border.

The US President reportedly indicated that Washington was not planning to deploy “offensive strike weapons in Ukraine ,” the Kremlin said after the call. Top Putin aide Yury Ushakov said obtaining a verbal pledge had been “one of the key points” for Moscow, as far as the proposals Russia had made to Biden “made clear” that the US and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia moved to invade Ukraine , White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said , following the call. If Russia chose to “proceed with a further invasion of Ukraine ,” it would face “serious” consequences, including “economic costs

“ We believe the United States should, in closest consultation with its NATO allies and with Ukraine , take immediate steps to affect the Kremlin’s cost-benefit calculations before the Russian leadership opts for further military escalation,” the group wrote. “Such a response would include a package of major and painful sanctions that would be applied immediately if Russia assaults Ukraine . Ideally, the outline of these sanctions would be communicated now to Moscow, so that the Kremlin has a clear understanding of the magnitude of the economic hit it will face."

Western officials have hinted at any number of economically crippling sanctions that could be imposed should Russia act. Those include near total cutoff from the international financial system and steps toward greater NATO integration with non-allied European nations.

As the Biden administration moves to build international consensus around a set of possible punitive measures, Germany is clearly the linchpin. Securing its support will be key to both messaging and implementation of whatever is decided.

Germany’s business ties with Russia could provide leverage, but they could also prove a hindrance for forging a united front toward Moscow. Despite strong criticism from the U.S., the center-left government of new Chancellor Olaf Scholz hasn’t shown itself willing to block the start of natural gas deliveries through a newly built pipeline linking Russia and Germany — a move that would hurt both countries.

Germany has adopted a less confrontational stance toward Russia compared with many other European nations. Under Merkel, it persuaded the Biden administration last year not to impose sanctions on the company building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that many believe will leave Europe beholden to Russia for energy and Ukraine more vulnerable.

Biden Talks of 'Acting Decisively' With Russia in Call With Ukraine

  Biden Talks of 'Acting Decisively' With Russia in Call With Ukraine The White House said: "President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine."The two presidents spoke on Sunday just days after President Biden spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for a second time in a month amid tensions along Ukraine's border.

Nord Stream 2 is a topic of major concern in Washington and Congress is expected to take up two bills related to it and other Russia sanctions next week, just as the meetings in Europe are happening. A GOP bill would automatically impose Nord Stream sanctions, while a Democratic version would impose a wider range of penalties on Russia should it invade Ukraine.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Washington have blamed Nord Stream 2 for increasing Russia’s leverage over Germany and limiting what Berlin would be willing to do in response to a new invasion. Germany, like much of the European Union, is heavily reliant on Russian natural gas.

“In order for sanctions to be effective, they have to be effective in the dollar and the euro,” said Rep. Mike Waltz, a Republican from Florida who visited Ukraine in December along with other U.S. lawmakers.

The new pipeline is “giving Putin a checkmate over Western Europe” and limiting Germany’s engagement on sanctions and other preemptive measures that lawmakers from both parties want, Waltz said.

“I don’t see how they trade their energy security for taking a strong stand for Ukraine, and it puts Ukrainians and it puts Eastern Europeans, our allies, and NATO for that matter in a very precarious position,” he said.

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat who also joined the lawmakers’ trip to Ukraine, said he believed the U.S. might be able to supply energy to Germany if it is cut off from importing Russian gas.

“My sense is Germany is waking up to this,” Moulton said. “They are starting to realize how serious this threat is and the leverage that Putin has potentially over them and other countries in Western Europe.”

___

Jordans reported from Berlin. Nomaan Merchant in Washington contributed to this report.

Russia is risking all-out war to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO .
Russia's dealings — or, more accurately, its clashes — with the West have focused on one country in recent years: Ukraine.It's back in focus this week with a series of high-stakes meetings taking place between Russian and western officials which are centered on trying to diffuse heightened tensions between Russia and its neighbor.

usr: 0
This is interesting!