The US National Security Council indicated on Tuesday that America and Russia will start bilateral talks on January 10.
This marks a significant breakthrough in US-Russia relations, as the two countries were avoiding negotiations, despite rising Ukraine border tensions.
Russia calls back some of its troops from the Ukraine border
On Saturday, Russia announced almost 10,000 of its troops were returning to their barracks after completing their training near the Ukraine border.
This announcement served the purpose of de-escalation between two Cold War foes, as America announced the start of bilateral talks a couple of days after this.
The national security adviser of Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, signaled last week that in order to de-escalate the situation between America and Russia, meaningful negotiations have to be done.
While the US has successfully managed to arrange talks, Russian officials indicated January 10 talks should be able to guarantee NATO would never give membership to Ukraine, a demand which the US already denounced.
Similarly, Russia is asking the US to accept its “treaty” that would bar the United States from placing weapons in some of the former Soviet Union territories, which are already members of NATO.
US and Russia agree to sit down for security talks and discuss Ukraine on January 10https://t.co/wOK6IyrHWH
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 28, 2021
Although the NSC has not declared the place of meeting between the US and Russia, it is widely believed Geneva will host the highly anticipated talks, as many previous negotiations between the two countries happened there.
America pledges to defend Ukraine
The NSC declared Biden is consistent in his approach of tackling Russia regarding Ukraine by using the combination of diplomacy and deterrence to protect US interests.
Deterring Russia has to be done by providing armaments to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, the funding of which has already been approved under the recently passed defense bill of the United States.
Similarly, the United States is also having its European allies impose sanctions on Russia if the country advances its troops into Ukrainian territory.
US officials plan to consult with Ukraine regularly on the side as the US, Russia and NATO negotiate next month, a White House official tells CNN, since Ukraine is not a party to two of the three bodies set to meet in early January. https://t.co/cSB1qzkAdq
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 28, 2021
However, despite embracing the assertive posture in its deterrence strategy, the White House issued a statement that Russia can voice its concerns once both countries start negotiating on January 10.
Reportedly, American diplomats are confused over Russia’s behavior; they are unable to figure out whether Russia is serious in its talks or just finding an excuse to invade Ukraine.
Apart from January 10 talks, Russia and NATO will hold a separate meeting on January 12, as confirmed by both the NSC and NATO’s sources.
Not only this, but America and Russia are also likely to engage in another meeting on January 13, under the banner of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The tensions between America and Russia surged recently when the latter amassed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, which US intelligence indicated was done to invade Ukraine.
While the issue was raised between Biden-Putin virtual talks recently, it failed to cool down tensions between both nations.