US, Russia to Discuss Ukraine During January Talks
By VOA News December 28, 2021
The United States and Russia will hold talks in January about nuclear arms control and tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border.
A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told reporters the two sides would meet January 10, followed by Russia-NATO talks on January 12. In addition, Russia, the United States and other members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which includes Ukraine, will participate in a meeting January 13.
"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," the spokesperson said. "There will be areas where we can make progress and areas where we will disagree. That's what diplomacy is about."
Western governments have been alarmed by the buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, expressing concern about potential plans for a Russian invasion. Russian leader Vladimir Putin has denied any such plans and has demanded guarantees against NATO expansion close to its territory.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign affairs minister, has tweeted Ukraine's support for the talks and desire to participate.
"We support the idea of the US, the EU, NATO talking to Russia as long as the primary topic is ending the international armed conflict, Russia's war on Ukraine. Euro-Atlantic security is at stake in Ukraine, therefore Ukraine should be part of security consultations on the matter."
The U.S. National Security Council spokesperson said that in respect to Ukraine's own interests, the U.S.-Russia talks will not reach any decisions about Ukraine.
"President Biden's approach on Ukraine has been clear and consistent: Unite the alliance behind two tracks â€” deterrence and diplomacy. We are unified as an alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moves on Ukraine," the spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group to remain in the Mediterranean Sea, delaying its voyage to the Middle East.
The "schedule change reflects the need for a persistent presence in Europe and is necessary to reassure our allies and partners of our commitment to collective defense," a defense official said.
Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.
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