Sullivan Tells Russian Counterpart That U.S. Is Ready For Dialogue On Troop Buildup
By RFE/RL December 21, 2021
U.S. national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has told his Russian counterpart that Washington is ready to engage in diplomacy over Russia's buildup of troops near Ukraine, but that any dialogue must take place in coordination with its allies and partners in Europe.
Sullivan told Yury Ushakov, foreign policy adviser to President Vladimir Putin, that the United Stats is ready to hold talks through multiple channels, including bilateral engagement, the NATO-Russia Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the White House said on December 20.
The statement is consistent with "ongoing outreach and engagement with the Russians," as well as the Ukrainians and European partners, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Sullivan spoke by phone with Ushakov amid ongoing tensions in Europe over the buildup of as many as 100,000 Russian troops near the border with Ukraine.
Russia denies that it is a prelude to an invasion of Ukraine and says it is Ukraine's growing relationship with NATO that has caused the tensions.
Sullivan "made clear that any dialogue must be based on reciprocity and address our concerns about Russia's actions, and take place in full coordination with our European allies and partners," Psaki said.
Moscow, whose troop buildup has alarmed NATO and Ukraine, last week unveiled a wish list of security proposals it wants to negotiate, including a promise to end NATO's eastward expansion and limitations on the alliance's military activity in Eastern Europe, including cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia.
Psaki reiterated the U.S. position that sovereign nations have the right to choose their alliances and NATO's relationship with Ukraine "is a matter only for Ukraine and 30 NATO allies to determine."
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Ushakov told Sullivan that Moscow was ready to begin talks on draft documents on security guarantees and that Russia would be represented at these talks by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Ryabkov said that Moscow had so far received no response from the United States.
"I think they'll try to turn this into a slow-moving process, but we need it to be urgent, because the situation is very difficult, it is acute, it tends to become more complicated," he was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.
With reporting by Reuters, RIA Novosti, and TASS
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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