The United States and Russia locked horns over Ukraine and other security issues Monday with no sign of progress from either side at highly anticipated strategic talks.
Low expectations from both Washington and Moscow about the high-stakes session in Geneva appeared to have been met as senior diplomats from the two countries emerged without offering any hint of success.
Neither side characterized the meeting as a complete failure, but neither did they offer any prospect of easing the increasingly worrisome standoff over Russia’s military buildup on its border with Ukraine that the West sees as a fundamental threat to European security. Nor was there any indication of movement on other, perhaps less-explosive matters that have vexed the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Moscow insists on guarantees to halt NATO’s eastward expansion and even roll back the military alliance’s deployments in Eastern Europe, while Washington firmly rejects the demands as a nonstarter.
With both sides dug in on their positions and Ukraine’s future hanging in the balance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “no progress” was made on the central demand on NATO expansion, although he insisted: “We have no intention to invade Ukraine.” U.S. officials openly questioned that comment.
Ryabkov spoke following talks with his U.S. counterpart, Wendy Sherman — part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in Europe this week aimed at defusing the tensions.
Sherman called the talks a “frank and forthright discussion” but would not, or could not, point to any progress.
“It was not wha
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