There has been little progress between the United States and Russia on arms control, but NATO has continued to expand

Top US and Russian diplomats said on Monday. Bilateral, “business-like” talks in Geneva Some opportunities for future engagement on missile systems and military exercises were presented. But the two sides remained at odds over the future of NATO membership, which the Russians called a “top priority.”

Speaking in Geneva, where the two delegations met to begin a week of in-depth diplomacy, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said the United States was “quick” to discuss the missile’s location and possible restoration. Offer reunion.useless Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. He also said that the United States was “open about the extent to which military exercises should be conducted in a manner that would limit the size and scope of the exercises and improve transparency in those exercises.”

He is accompanied by two members of the Department of Defense, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia Laura K. Cooper, and Lieutenant General James J. Mangs, during Sherman’s meetings. Speaking to the Pentagon on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the Department of Defense was aware of this and supported talking about missile capabilities in Europe, assuming that the issue was under discussion. There will be mutual cooperation from Russia. The United States does not have medium-range missiles in Europe and has no plans to keep them there, so more concessions would be needed from Russia on missiles.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation, told reporters after the meeting, which lasted about eight hours, that the talks were highly professional and reiterated that Moscow had no intention. Attack on Ukraine. “There is no reason to be afraid of any kind of growing scenario,” he said.

Switzerland US-Russia security talks
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, left, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov are attending security talks at the US Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, January 10, 2022.

Dennis Balibaus / AP

But key issues are “still pending,” he said, adding that Russia’s demand that Ukraine and Georgia “never, ever” join NATO was a “top priority” for Moscow.

“We need iron-clad, waterproof, bulletproof, legally binding guarantees. Not assurances, not reservations, but guarantees,” Ryabkov said.

Western powers began publicly rejecting the demand as a non-starter last week, which Sharmeen reiterated on Monday.

“We will not allow anyone to criticize NATO’s closed policy of ‘open door’, which has always been central to the NATO alliance,” Sharmeen said. Those who want to work with the United States. And we will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, about Europe without Europe, or about NATO without NATO. ”

And while acknowledging that the Russians have no intention of invading Ukraine, he said it was an open question whether it was true and whether Moscow would move toward decline.

“I would note that none of this was communicated to anyone, and it is common for us to communicate each other’s exercises wherever we can,” he said. “And they can prove that, in fact, they have no intention of sending troops back to the barracks.”

Monday was the first meeting. Many Diplomatic engagements with Russia are scheduled for this week in three cities, but the US and Russian diplomats were expected to speak only once. The talks took place in a forum called Strategic Stability Dialogue, which was later resumed. President Biden and Putin met in Geneva. June 2021 and focuses on reducing the risk of nuclear weapons and conflict.

On Tuesday, Sherman will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Belgium, ahead of Wednesday’s NATO-Russia Council meeting. On Thursday, a group of 57 countries comprising the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – including Russia and Ukraine – will convene a meeting in Vienna, Austria.

“I fully expect that the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE this week, Russia will hear a lasting message from the United States and our allies and partners – that is, it is up to Russia to reduce the tension. So we have a real chance to find a diplomatic solution, “Sharmeen said Monday.

Eleanor Watson contributed to this report.