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Russia will meet with US to discuss Ukraine on Jan. 11

by Sergiy Slipchenko December 27, 2021 7:24 PM 2 min read
US President Joe Biden (R) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Villa la Grange in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (White House/facebook)
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Russia will meet with the U.S. to discuss "security guarantees" amid the ongoing tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border on Jan. 11, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The meeting will take place one day before the planned NATO-Russia council summit.

In a Dec. 27 interview with a Russian YouTube program, Lavrov said that this "major round of talks" with Washington will focus on preventing NATO's eastward expansion. According to Lavrov, delegations will include the countries' foreign ministries and military officials.

The meeting announcements follow months of tensions amid Russia's buildup of 122,000 troops on Ukraine's border and in the occupied territories in preparation for a possible invasion this winter.

The U.S. and a number of its European allies have warned Russia of serious consequences if it launches a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia accused NATO of placing missiles on its doorstep and demanded guarantees that Ukraine will not become a member, something the alliance and Washington have so far refused to grant.

Russia laid out its security demands in two draft pacts on Dec. 17, offering to sign one with the U.S. and the other with NATO.

In its pact with NATO, Russia demands that the alliance terminate all military activities in a loosely defined Russian "comfort zone" and that all member states that joined after 1997 do not deploy their militaries or weapons in any European countries. NATO exercises near Russia’s border would be banned, as would the deployment of mid and short-range surface-to-air missiles.

In the U.S. pact, Russia demands Washington to formally commit to preventing the alliance's enlargement to the east. Russia also called for a Cold War-style hotline between the two nations.

The proposals seek to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty by brokering a deal with NATO while excluding any involvement of the Ukrainian government. U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that membership decisions are made by members and not external parties.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen reportedly said that the European Union, in cooperation with the U.S., has prepared severe economic sanctions against Russia in case of further military actions. But she did not provide details as to what exactly the sanctions would entail.

U.S. news publications have previously reported that the potential sanctions could include disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT banking system, preventing the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and targeting Russian business interests and politicians.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said that Russia would be hit with sanctions "like you've not seen before" in an interview with CBS News on Dec. 21.

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