US ready to talk missiles, military exercises with Russia: White House

A senior White House official said Saturday that the United States is ready to talk with Russia about the two countries’ missile systems and military exercises, in talks that could begin Sunday in Geneva.

US and Russian diplomats are meeting in Switzerland to try to defuse tensions as Washington and Europe accuse Moscow of preparing a new invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“There are some areas … where we think it might be possible to make progress” provided that any promises are “reciprocal,” the official said, giving some details in a conference call.

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Russia has said it feels threatened by the possibility of placing offensive missile systems in Ukraine…and the United States has no intention of doing so. This is one area where we may be able to come to an understanding if Russia is willing to make a reciprocal commitment, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

The official said that Moscow “has also expressed an interest in discussing the future of certain missile systems in Europe, such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty” and “we are open to discussing this matter.”

The source said that Washington is finally ready to discuss the possibility of imposing mutual restrictions on the size and scope of military exercises conducted by Russia, the United States and NATO.

“We won’t know until we get to these talks starting tomorrow night, whether Russia is ready to negotiate seriously and in good faith,” the official warned, noting that the Russians and Americans would likely have an “initial conversation” on Sunday night before holding their “main meeting” on Monday. .

“We go to these meetings with a sense of realism, not a sense of optimism,” the source said, noting that they will be “exploratory” and will not lead to firm promises.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all that the Russian media started reporting, perhaps even while talks were going on, that the United States had made all kinds of concessions to Russia. This is a deliberate attempt to create a split among allies, in part by manipulating you all,” the official told reporters on the conference call.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is scheduled to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov for talks Sunday evening, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Sherman is accompanied by Lieutenant-General James Mingus, Director of Joint Operations, and Ryabkov will attend talks with Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel Alexander Fomin.

Read more:

Blinken says Russia can opt for a “diplomatic solution” on Ukraine

Biden told Ukraine’s leader the US would “respond decisively” if Russia invaded: the White House

NATO rules out any halt to expansion, despite Russia’s claim to Ukraine

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