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Russia, U.S. discuss Moscow's demand for security guarantees - foreign ministry

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By Reuters
Russia, U.S. discuss Moscow's demand for security guarantees - foreign ministry
Russia, U.S. discuss Moscow's demand for security guarantees - foreign ministry   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">MOSCOW</span> – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried held talks in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss a Russian demand for binding security guarantees from the West, the Russian foreign ministry said.</p> <p>The negotiations come at a time of soaring East-West tensions over a build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine. Western countries have warned Russia may be poised to launch a new attack on Ukraine, something Moscow has denied. </p> <p>Russia wants the United States and <span class="caps">NATO</span> to guarantee that the Western military alliance will not expand further eastwards or deploy certain weapons systems in Ukraine and other countries that border Russia. </p> <p>“A thorough discussion took place on the issue of security guarantees (for Russia) in the light of persistent attempts by the United States and <span class="caps">NATO</span> to change the military and political situation in Europe in their favour,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.</p> <p>It gave no further details about the meeting. </p> <p>The Kremlin says <span class="caps">NATO</span>’s expansion threatens Russia and runs counter to assurances given to it as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. <span class="caps">NATO</span> says its activities are defensive in nature and designed to deter new Russia aggression, while Washington has repeatedly said that no country can veto Ukraine’s <span class="caps">NATO</span> hopes.</p> <p>Donfried, who is expected to meet President Vladimir Putin’s point person on Ukraine later on Wednesday, held talks a day earlier with top Ukrainian officials to offer support in the face of the Russian troop build-up.</p> <p>Ukraine, long at odds with neighbouring Russia, has stepped up military cooperation with <span class="caps">NATO</span>, and the Group of Seven warned Russia last week it would face massive consequences and severe costs if it attacked Ukraine.</p> <p>Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and has supported pro-Russian separatists who seized a swath of eastern Ukraine that same year. </p> <p/> </div>