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The US and Russia tense their pulse on Ukraine before the summit of the “de-escalation”

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will not participate this time in the summit between their two countries. / efe

Washington warns of the risk of confrontation and Moscow says it will not make “concessions” or allow the conflict in Kazakhstan to be addressed at Monday’s meeting in Geneva

The possibility of reducing the severity of the conflict in Ukraine is becoming increasingly tenuous. The United States and Russia dedicated on Sunday the hours prior to the summit on the situation created in this country after the mobilization on their border of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers to get a pulse and make a thick demonstration of who goes further in the tension of mutual relationships.

On the part of the White House, Secretary of State Antony Blinken once again warned of the risk of “confrontation” and added that his country will not shake its hand to apply the most severe trade and economic sanctions on Russia, as it has done previously. with Cuba or North Korea, in case their troops invade Ukrainian territory.

On the part of Moscow, the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov exposed the Kremlin’s “disappointment” with the US castling and declared that in the talks there will neither be “concessions” in the heat of threatening rhetoric nor will he allow them to be introduced into the order. of the day the bloody riots in Kazakhstan, which have already cost 164 dead and 2,000 wounded.

Challenge here, reply there, the climate that could preside after the dinner between Riabkov and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, representative of the White House, is predictable in the dialogue that begins this Monday in Geneva. A cold starter for an intense schedule. The Russians have another appointment with the NATO council in Brussels on Wednesday and a third meeting is scheduled the following day with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Putin, the predator of sovereignties

However, with each passing day the feeling grows that it will be a sterile week. The mixed atmosphere of warnings between all parties (including the attacks of the Atlantic Alliance and the EU on Moscow), the continuous previous verbal challenges between the two main actors and the relevance of the interlocutors, deputy ministers, high officials and experts (except surprise Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will be mere spectators from a distance), point out that the round will not yield a crucial result on the immediate future of Ukraine. His government, as the weeks go by, considers the danger that Russia will take away its sovereignty as more solid. Other analysts argue that he is really just looking for a show of force and warning for the future.

From this Monday to Friday it is possible that the participants in the round will come out more confronted or agree with some expectations. The maximum that is expected is to find a key to open and unblock in some way not only the crisis in Ukraine but others latent in the new international scene of forces arising from the pandemic, more tense and full of threats than in the past decade. . In fact, before leaving for Geneva, Sherman showed the White House’s willingness to address issues such as the balance of troops and logistical armament in Eastern Europe. But he also stresses that he will continue to support Kiev.

“Exploratory” character

Moscow wants to achieve a comprehensive agreement on security in Europe. That is to say, “legal, legal guarantees of the non-expansion of NATO in the future,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said yesterday. Putin is concerned that Ukraine will join the Atlantic Alliance and thus its influence will reach the Russian border. Seen this way, Riabkov added that there are few jokes, and that “it is totally out of the question” for the Kremlin to make any “concessions under threat” at the summit. For Washington or NATO to try to reach agreements through pressure “is not to know the essence of Russian policy,” he said.

The latest contribution from the United States to the negotiation is that it will be “exploratory.” The White House will not make decisions without first consulting the Ukrainian government and NATO. The European Union, fearful of remaining in the condition of stone guest, seems to have also found its niche. Not surprisingly, Biden is clear about his interest in strengthening relations with the European bloc in his alignment strategy against the super-powerful China.

Blinken threw the ball into Putin’s court on Sunday. He explained that the outcome of the talks will depend especially on the Russian attitude. “There is a path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve some of the differences” and there is also “another path of confrontation,” he challenged, stressing that “it is very difficult to make progress while Russia keeps a gun pointed at Ukraine’s head.”


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