Russian foreign ministry complains about Ukraine taking center stage at Russia-NATO talks

13 January 2022, 04:50 PM

Ukraine was front and center on the agenda at the Russia-NATO Council meeting in Brussels on Jan. 12, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Wednesday, Jan. 12.

And it seems the Russian official was none too pleased about it.

“Today our partners discussed Ukraine for about one-and-a-half hours out of the four allotted,” he said at a briefing following the talks, adding that he “did not understand” the statements made by his negotiating partners.

“Yes, Mr. [U.S. Secretary of State Antony] Blinken said that (there would be) ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,’” the Russian diplomat said.

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On Jan. 12, the NATO-Russia Council meeting was held with the involvement of representatives of Russia and the 30 member states of NATO. The talks stretched on for an hour longer than the three that had been initially allotted.

Over the course of the meeting, Russia reiterated its demands for “security guarantees,” including on NATO’s non-expansion to the east.

In turn, the alliance reaffirmed NATO’s Open Door policy and the right of each nation to choose its own security arrangements.

“No one else has anything to say, and of course Russia does not have a veto (on states joining NATO),” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference following the crisis talks.

The meeting in Brussels is one of a series of talks with Russia taking place in Europe this week.

The United States and Russia held a round of crisis talks in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan. 10, kicking off a week of high-level negotiations.

The next round of talks will take place at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on Jan. 13, this time with the involvement of Ukrainian representatives.

On Dec. 17, Russia issued demands they called “security guarantees” from the United States and NATO, including that Ukraine be forbidden from ever becoming a member of the alliance; all against the backdrop of a continuous buildup of Russian troops close to the Ukrainian border.

Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, reports Ukrainian intelligence.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and European Union officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, previously stated that the Ukrainian government deemed the threat of a direct Russian invasion unlikely. However, in early December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.

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