US-Russia talks over Ukraine troop build-up ‘will be difficult’

·1-min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S President Joe Biden (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S President Joe Biden (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s deputy foreign minister predicted “difficult” talks with the United States on Monday over his nation’s troop build-up on the border with Ukraine.

Sergei Ryabkov suggested Russia would not be making concessions at the talks in Geneva that began today without the US conceding to the Kremlin’s security demands.

After an initial meeting with the US diplomatic team, Mr Ryabkov said: “The Russian side came here with a clear position that contains a number of elements that, to my mind, are understandable and have been so clearly formulated, including at a high level, that deviating from our approaches simply is not possible.”

Nearly 100,000 Russian troops are within reach of the Ukraine border in preparation for what Washington and Kyiv say could be an invasion, eight years after Russia seized the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.

Russia, which denies invasion plans, has presented demands that include a ban on Nato expansion and an end to the military alliance’s activity in central and eastern European countries that joined it after 1997. The US has dismissed large parts of the proposals as non-starters.

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