U.S., Russia to hold security talks next month
U.S. and Russian officials have agreed to hold security talks on Jan. 10 amid escalating tensions over Ukraine, a National Security Council spokesperson confirmed Monday.
The big picture: President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call earlier this month that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians.
- U.S. officials have also said the U.S. is prepared to send additional military aid to Ukraine and increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's eastern flank.
- Putin, who opposes those types of exercises, demanded a guarantee that NATO will not expand east. Biden administration officials previously said they would consider the demands, but called some of them "unacceptable."
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov echoed Russia's demand on Tuesday, saying he hoped the Jan. 10 talks would lead to security guarantees from the West, per Reuters.
What they're saying: Biden’s "approach on Ukraine has been clear and consistent: Unite the alliance behind two tracks: deterrence and diplomacy. We are unified as an Alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moves on Ukraine," a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
- "But we are also unified in our willingness to engage in principled diplomacy with Russia," the spokesperson added.
- "When we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will put our concerns on the table with Russia's activities as well. We will adhere to the principle of 'nothing about our Allies and partners without our Allies and partners, including Ukraine.'"
- "There will be areas where we can make progress, and areas where we will disagree. That's what diplomacy is about."
- The spokesperson added that Russia and NATO are scheduled to meet Jan. 12, and a broader meeting including other European officials, Washington and Moscow is set for Jan. 13.