Top Russian and US officials have hosted a working dinner in Geneva as part of a string of meetings in three European cities this week to bolster bilateral ties over Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine.
Diplomatic officials said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and other Russian officials arrived in the evening for a meeting at the US ambassador’s residence at the Conference on Disarmament. The luxury apartment overlooks Lake Geneva. Ryabkov was meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and his team.
Earlier on Sunday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on state television that the first round of “narrow-format” talks on security would continue during the day, according to the Tass news agency.
Less formal Sunday’s talks come ahead of extensive discussions between two diplomats and their teams at the US mission in Geneva starting on Monday, the first step toward resuming talks as Russia has projected its border with Ukraine. Deployed 100,000 troops. , Concerns have risen about widespread Russian military incursions into the country.
The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn up a list of demands, such as seeking guarantees that the NATO military alliance will not seek to expand eastward into countries such as Ukraine or Georgia, which are former Soviet republics.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he did not expect any success in bilateral talks in Geneva or during talks in Brussels, at the NATO-Russia Council meeting and in the organization. Cooperation and Security in Europe this weekend in Vienna.
The United States and other Western allies have promised “serious costs” to Russia if it moves against Ukraine.
“The question now really is whether President Putin will pursue the path of diplomacy and dialogue or seeks confrontation,” Blinken said.