Important Meetings Line Up As NATO, EU & Russia Talk Ukraine

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World stands on brink of a new Cold War and the end of globalisation if security talks fail and Russia invades Ukraine

NATO’s top diplomats are holding an extraordinary virtual meeting today (Friday, January 7) to address Russia’s requirements relating to European security issues. They will discuss Russia’s military build-up in (NATO refers to Crimea) and around Ukraine and broader European security issues.” a NATO statement reads. This meeting will be followed by the NATO-Russia Council meeting scheduled on January 12 – next Wednesday – in Geneva, where Moscow plans to discuss its requirements in terms of European security issues.

NATO-Russia Council meeting

NATO has called on Moscow to consider “NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions.” The last time the Council was convened was the summer of 2019, when no practical results were achieved. On January 12-13, Brussels will also host a meeting of the NATO Military Committee at the level of chiefs of defense.

According to NATO, “any dialogue with Russia would have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on the core principles and foundational documents of European security and take place in consultation with NATO’s European Partners.”

NATO has not revealed the agenda of the meeting with Russia.

Russia confirmed its intention to discuss with NATO the proposals on security guarantees, in particular, the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe, prevention of the deployment of NATO forces near Russian borders as well as abandoning the policy of engaging Ukraine and Georgia in the alliance.

Russia’s stance

On December 31, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden held talks over the phone. Kremlin Aide Yury Ushakov stated that the Russian side was satisfied with the contact, praising the conversation as constructive. According to Ushakov, the heads of state focused on the upcoming negotiations on security guarantees, having agreed to maintain further contacts relating to this issue.

Moscow expects to ensure legal security guarantees, which will prevent NATO from eastward advancement and deploying weapons near Russian borders. The extent of NATO’s limit has been set as ‘no closer than ten minutes weapons flying time to the Russian border’.

As the Kremlin aide noted, the US president appeared to agree with this position. The Russian leader warned that possible new sanctions against Moscow could result in the severance of the ties with the US and seriously damage its relations with the West in general. The outcomes of these meetings are likely to determine whether or not the world gives up on globalisation and ushers in a new Cold War era, or whether this can be avoided.

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