(RepublicanInformer.com)- While the US, NATO, and Russia were engaged in talks this week, the Russian military was conducting live-fire exercises near Ukraine and Belarus.
Well, that’s one way for the Kremlin to make it clear to the West that it is entirely indifferent to its demands that Russia de-escalate.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that 3,000 troops and 300 tanks and infantry vehicles were deployed across three western Russian regions that border Ukraine and one bordering Belarus.
Russia’s announcement came just one day after Russian and US officials met for bilateral talks in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the previously agreed Strategic Security Dialogue that President Biden and Russian President Putin announced during their Geneva summit in June of 2021.
The US and Russian delegations, headed up by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, discussed arms control and continued nuclear deterrence. While not central to the talks, the current tensions in Ukraine were addressed as well.
After Monday’s talks, Sergei Ryabkov denied that Russia had any plans to invade Ukraine, but made it clear if the West would not agree to pull back NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe and reject Ukraine’s request for NATO membership, there would be consequences that would place the security of the European continent at risk.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin said the bilateral talks left no reason for optimism either on Ukraine or wider European security.
Both the US and NATO have said they will only negotiate with Russia if the Kremlin de-escalates and redeploys the thousands of Russian troops currently amassed on the border with Ukraine. In response to the news of Russia’s latest live-fire exercises, the US State Department said on Tuesday that Russia’s actions are the antithesis of de-escalation.
On Wednesday, Vyacheslav Volodin, the Speaker of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, said if the US wants to decrease tensions with Moscow, the onus is on Washington.
Volodin echoed the Kremlin, saying Washington must either support the security measures proposed by Russia or “assume responsibility for the possible consequences” if it does not.
Russia has long maintained that it wants guarantees that NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe will stop and Russia be allowed to control the foreign policy choices of former Soviet states like Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.