Ukraine welcomes “unity” with Westerners against Moscow “ultimatums”

Ukraine welcomed Tuesday its “unity” with the West against Moscow’s “ultimatums” during the Russian-American discussions the day before in Switzerland.

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“The talks in Geneva have shown that our strength is in unity and coherence of positions vis-à-vis (…) Russian ultimatums,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said in a telephone interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the day after Wendy Sherman, number two in US diplomacy, met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov.

To read: Ukraine, a question of “life and death” for the Kremlin

Dmytro Kouleba, who stressed that the United States remained the essential partner of his country to ensure its security, and Antony Blinken on this occasion discussed the next steps in order to dissuade Moscow from launching an attack against Ukraine, which is fighting a pro-Russian separatist rebellion in the east of its territory since 2014.

Washington doubts Russia’s “seriousness” to negotiate

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki meanwhile cast doubts on Russia’s real intentions regarding these negotiations.

Also read: In Geneva, Russians and Americans display their differences before considering negotiations

It is “too early to say whether the Russians (…) are ready to negotiate seriously”, Moscow can “use these discussions to pretend that diplomacy is not working” and continue its “aggressive” actions, said Jen Psaki during a press briefing.

“NATO’s relations with Ukraine are the concern of Ukraine and the thirty allied countries” within this organization, she reiterated, while Russia demands that the Atlantic Alliance close its position forever. door to Ukrainians.

Tensions around Ukraine have increased in recent months, with Washington and European allies in Kiev accusing Russia of massing troops near the Ukrainian border in preparation for an invasion. Moscow, for its part, demanded written guarantees to exclude Ukraine, as well as Georgia, another former Soviet republic, from joining NATO.

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Continuation of negotiations

The Geneva talks only resulted in the promise of new contacts between Russians and Americans. A NATO-Russia Council meeting, involving high-ranking diplomats from Alliance members and representatives from Moscow, is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels, the first since July 2019. The United States and its allies have previously consulted. Tuesday in the Belgian capital.

Paris, for its part, mentioned Tuesday a meeting of the Normandy group (France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine) “by the end of January” as well as a “gesture” from Kiev to try to relaunch the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict.

The Kremlin’s envoy in the peace negotiations in Ukraine, Dmitri Kozak, “agreed that we resume negotiations in the Normandy group at the level of diplomatic advisers”, declared the French presidency. “We think we can hold a first meeting (at this level) by the end of January,” added the Elysee after a joint visit by diplomatic advisers to French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow then in Kiev.

Read more: Europeans face Russia-US summit, hope and frustration

The foreign ministers of EU member states will discuss European proposals on security in Europe on Thursday and Friday. This meeting will be “the opportunity to decide together on the next steps we want to give to our involvement in the dialogue with Russia,” said a French diplomatic source.

In reaction to the coming to power of pro-Westerners in early 2014 in Ukraine, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and supported, according to Kiev and Westerners, the separatist rebellion in the eastern regions bordering its territory. This conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives to date.

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