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Talks Between the United States and Russia on the Ukraine Situation Begin in Geneva Today, Amid Mounting Tension.

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Expectations of a breakthrough were low as formal discussions between top US and Russian officials began in Geneva at the start of a crucial week of diplomacy over Ukraine.

Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, and his team met with Wendy Sherman, US deputy secretary of state, and her staff at the US diplomatic post in Geneva.

Before Monday’s official meetings, US and Russian diplomats and military personnel met in Geneva on Sunday night to discuss Moscow’s requests. That was in two draught accords last month, one with the US and one with Nato. A guarantee that Ukraine would never join Nato is unacceptable to Washington and the alliance.

Sovereignty, territorial integrity, and sovereign states’ right to pick their own alliances were all highlighted by Sherman, according to a State Department report. “Welcome true progress via diplomacy,” she reportedly told the Russians.

Blinken, who stated on Sunday that the week’s diplomacy was a test for Putin, claimed Russia had 100,000 soldiers near Ukraine and more ready to deploy.

Talks Between the United States and Russia on the Ukraine Situation Begin in Geneva Today, Amid Mounting Tension.

“We have two options,” he told CNN. “Dialogue and diplomacy may help address some of these issues and avert a clash. If Russia renews its war on Ukraine, it risks huge consequences. We’re going to see how far President Putin is willing to go.”

Those sovereign nations may seek for NATO membership is non-negotiable, says the Biden administration Neither are US force deployments in Europe, officials said. They claimed Washington will talk about additional security assurances including reciprocal missile deployment and military drills on the continent. That would fall well short of what Moscow wants.

Related: US State Department thinks diplomatic solution to Ukraine conflict is still feasible

Few diplomats foresee a rapid resolution this week, and a total collapse is conceivable. It should be clear very soon if Russia wants to negotiate or whether its ideas are planned to be rejected, thereby establishing a pretext for a conflict Putin has already decided on.

“We’re about to see where President Putin wants to go this week,” Blinken told ABC News’ This Week. Whether President Putin chooses diplomacy and negotiation or seeks conflict is now the issue.

“Lower your expectations even further,” said Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. “Attend to Moscow’s demands. If Russia maintains that Nato cannot expand again, we will know that it is preparing for war in Ukraine.

Sherman and Ryabkov oversee top diplomatic and military teams. Ryabkov was escorted to the dinner in Geneva by Russia’s deputy military minister, Colonel General Aleksandr Fomin.

Clément Beaune, France’s European Affairs Minister, protested on Sunday that the EU was absent from the negotiations, which he claimed aided Putin by splitting the west. “Europeans should be at the negotiating table,” he told CNEWS.

The US will address bilateral matters with Russia in Geneva, but not European security without our European friends and partners, according to the State Department. There will be two more rounds of negotiations this week, with France and other European governments involved.

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On Wednesday, the negotiation teams will travel to Brussels for a Nato-Russia Council meeting with all 30 alliance members. It will be the council’s first meeting since 2019 to alleviate tensions and forge agreement.

The following day, the OSCE permanent council would convene in Vienna, led by Poland. The ambassadorial level will be lower than the previous day’s Nato session. As a result of Russia’s pressure on Ukraine, non-NATO European nations like Finland and Sweden are rethinking their future. Finland’s authorities have recently signalled that they may reconsider Nato membership.

“We think that following bilateral negotiations with the US and then the Nato framework, some breakthroughs are possible,” said Nikodem Racho, the Polish embassy’s Washington spokeswoman.

However, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, proposed last month a rival bilateral diplomatic endeavour directly with Moscow.

The US-Russia summit in Geneva will be used to present rather than settle views, according to Washington.

“I don’t see any breakthroughs next week. We’ll listen to their issues, and they’ll listen to ours, and we’ll see if we can make progress,” Blinken added. “But making real progress is difficult when Russia has a gun to Ukraine’s head, 100,000 soldiers at its borders, and the potential to double that in a matter of days. The type of climate where we might make meaningful progress is one where tensions are de-escalating.

When Sherman speaks in Geneva, he will also enumerate the consequences to Russia of military action in Ukraine, including broad financial penalties, possible loss of access to the international electronic payment system Swift, and restrictions on Russian nationals’ access to Western technology

An invasion would confront a lengthy insurgency supported by superior US weapons, according to the New York Times. According to rumours, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were deployed to Ukraine in preparation of a guerilla battle.

A week of diplomacy is vital. It was evident from the start that the west would not reject Moscow’s proposition outright. That is the question,” said Andrey Baklitskiy, senior research fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Baklitskiy does not anticipate Russia’s rash military engagement in Kazakhstan to have any influence on the Ukraine issue. “Ukraine and Kazakhstan have no direct links. “Except for the very top, everyone in Russia is different,” he remarked.

The rebellion and the reaction may or may not frighten or embolden the Kremlin. “How scared are Russians about Kazakhstan? Do they think they can handle it? No sense of it yet,” a European official said.

There may be some wiggle space in this week’s discussions in one of many areas. But other analysts say it leaves open the possibility of a compromise, in which the theoretical possibility of membership is asserted alongside a clear statement that there would be many obstacles to overcome and hence it would not happen soon.

That may be OK in Washington and NATO, but not to Putin. “To be honest, I’m surprised,” the European official added. “Given their demands, I believe they would rather the problem be ignored. They haven’t put down their demand that Ukraine not join NATO.”

However, they indicated they were open to discuss reciprocal limitations on missile installations and military drills.

“Russia has said that the potential of offensive missile systems in Ukraine threatens it. The US, as President Biden assured President Putin, has no intention of doing so. So, if Russia is prepared to make a reciprocal commitment, we may be able to achieve an understanding,” the senior US administration official said.

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He said the US was also ready to discuss missile restrictions set by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which the Trump administration left in 2019 after long-standing US allegations of Russian infringement.

“There may be grounds for renewal,” Blinken said, adding that war exercises may be limited.

With reciprocal adherence – that is, if Russia honours its pledges, which it has frequently broken – there is cause for lessening tensions, establishing more transparency, and increasing trust, he added. “All of which would alleviate Russian concerns.”

Russia has urged for restrictions on US and Nato actions in both missiles and war simulations. Putin may be pleased with accords in these areas without a major shift in Ukraine’s standing.

Related: EU’s top diplomat visits frontline Ukraine

“Putin might claim we’ve been promised there won’t be any attack weapons – combat planes, missiles – or US bases in Ukraine,” said Rajan Menon, a political scientist at City University of New York. “Will Russians insist on it being written? That’s tricky.”

The primary stumbling block in the discussions may be the main parties’ political restraints.

It seems that the US has no capacity to sue for peace, much alone come up with a treaty or series of treaties, according to former US national security council senior director for European and Russian relations Fiona Hill. The Russian president wants to show off since his own popularity is waning.

The large force deployment and the Kremlin’s rhetoric have raised Russian hopes for the week’s talks. Moscow officials stressed that only “legally constituted assurances of security” would be sufficient to withdraw soldiers from the Ukrainian border.

“Putin has placed himself in a situation where he needs to respond,” Menon added. “Do I think a deal will materialise given the current political realities? No way. It’s going to be tricky.”

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