(RepublicanInformer.com)- Officials from the United States and Russia will be holding bilateral talks in early January as tensions over Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine continue to mount.
The talks, which will be held in Geneva Switzerland on January 10, will be most likely led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
A National Security Council spokesperson told reporters that this bilateral meeting will be followed up by talks between Russia and NATO on January 12. A subsequent meeting between Russia, the US, Ukraine, and other members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be held on January 13.
According to the White House, the upcoming bilateral talks are part of the previously agreed Strategic Security Dialogue that President Biden and Russian President Putin announced during their Geneva summit in June.
In addition to discussing arms control and continued nuclear deterrence, the US and Russian delegations are expected to discuss the current tensions along the Ukraine/Russian border.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister, expressed Ukraine’s support for the US, the EU, and NATO meetings with Russia to find a way to end the armed conflict and “Russia’s war on Ukraine.” In a tweet sent on Christmas Eve, Kuleba made it clear that Ukraine expects to have a role in the upcoming talks.
However, the spokesperson for the National Security Council said the US/Russia talks held on January 10 will not reach any decisions about Ukraine, saying the President’s approach on Ukraine remains unchanged — “deterrence and diplomacy.”
The White House believes any discussions about Ukraine would be more productive in an environment of de-escalation. However, the status of the bilateral talks would not be contingent on Russia agreeing to draw down troops along the Ukraine border.
Russia continues to demand a binding pledge from the US and NATO that the military alliance will not expand further into Eastern Europe. President Putin remains steadfast in his insistence that Ukraine be prevented from joining NATO.
President Biden previously indicated that the United States will make no concessions on either NATO or Ukraine’s future.