Russia expresses ‘disappointment’ with lack of breakthroughs at OSCE-Russia talks in Vienna

14 January 2022, 07:24 PM

No progress was made at this week’s OSCE-Russia talks in Vienna, Russia is unhappy with the results, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Kyiv’s allies shared their stance on the current situation.

 NV reviews the outcomes of this week of negotiations, amid Russian demands for “security guarantees” and threats of invasion.

Russian “Disappointment”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation talks with Russia in Vienna were the last of this week’s three high-profile diplomatic engagements aimed at defusing escalating tensions that began with a Russian military buildup on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

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Speaking to reporters after the talks, Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich called the negotiations disappointing.  Lukashevich said he had expected more in-depth discussions on Russia’s “security guarantees” – though the more aptly-named demands included obvious non-starters such as a ban on Ukrainian accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a rollback of infrastructure to 1997 status – which would leave NATO’s Baltic members twisting in the wind.

“I’m afraid we did not get an appropriate response or reaction to our demands,” said Lukashevich.

“The talks were mostly about the allegations of Russia’s aggressive behavior, particularly, towards Ukraine,” the diplomat added, echoing earlier complaints made by the Russian delegation that the talks focused too much on Ukraine, despite the fact that Russian military escalation on Ukraine’s border served as the impetus for the negotiations in the first place.

Lukashevich expressed his claim to journalists that other OSCE member states had misinterpreted the indivisible security principle at the heart of OSCEs activity, and had not wanted to go beyond that point. According to Lukashevich, the Russian delegation wanted to make it clear at the talks that no ultimatum by Russia had been given. However, the various threats made by Russia in defense of their demands painted the opposite picture.

Lukashevich also said Russia was expecting a response to its demands within a strict timeline, and did not want the diplomatic process to “drag out for months and years.”

The Russian representative added he was not happy with the unified reaction from the European Union and the United States. He called the “coordinated position” of the “so-called collective West” an utter disappointment and a sign for Russia that no constructive response was to be expected to its demands. Russia had expected a more “meaningful response to what is acceptable or not,” even as Russia had initially cut the EU out of talks entirely – conducting its first round of negotiations with the United States directly.

Lukashevich claims that the possibility of a “military response,” referring to a renewed invasion of Ukraine, will depends to a large extent on the reaction from other countries, insisting that Russia wishes to resolve the conflict it itself caused diplomatically. Russia has not taken any action, however, such as a draw-down of troops or an end to occupation of Ukrainian territory, that would signal the validity of that statement.

If a diplomatic solution turned out to be a no-go, Lukashevich threatened, Moscow could resort to “other options” to “guarantee its security.” In fact, Russia is yet to offer any evidence that it currently faces an external threat to its security from any European countries, or the United States.

Lukashevich went on to threaten potential “catastrophic consequences” should Russia’s demands remain ignored. 

“Russia’s demands, voiced in Geneva, Brussels and here in Vienna, are a moment of truth. Either we agree on red lines that should not be crossed, principles that should not be violated, or the situation may develop in a way that will lead to disastrous consequences,” added Lukashevich. 

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba: OSCE principles remain unchanged 

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted his own account of the talks on the Foreign Ministry’s official Facebook page. Kuleba affirmed that OSCE members shared Ukraine’s stance on the situation and expressed unwavering commitment to OSCE’s core principles, according to which, each state was free to choose which organizations or treaties it wanted to join.

Kuleba added that the only way for Russians to show they did not intend to resolve the conflict by military force, was to engage in further talks, including pursuing the OSCE diplomatic track. 

“Ukraine will actively engage with our partners to implement a complex package to dissuade Russia from starting a new war in Europe,” said Kuleba.  

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