The United States is ready to discuss the two countries’ missile systems and military exercises with Russia, a senior White House official said on Saturday, which 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 offensive on its neighbor Ukraine.
“There are some areas … where we think it may be possible to make progress,” provided any promises are “mutual,” the official said on a conference call, giving some details.
“Russia has said that it feels threatened by the prospect of an offensive missile system in Ukraine… the United States has no intention of doing so. So this is an area where we may be able to reach an understanding. If Russia is willing to make a mutual commitment,” the official requested anonymity.
“Moscow has expressed interest in discussing the future of certain missile systems in Europe on the lines of the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty)” and “we stand ready to discuss it,” the official said. he said.
Finally, Washington was ready to discuss the possibility of mutual sanctions on the size and scope of military exercises conducted by Russia as well as by the US and NATO, the source said.
“We won’t know until we get to these talks starting last night whether Russia is ready to engage seriously and in good faith,” the official warned. Their “main meeting” on Monday.
“We are going into these meetings with a sense of realism, not a sense of optimism,” the source said, indicating that they will be “exploratory” and not make firm promises.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all that the Russian media have started reporting, while talks are still going on, that the US has made all kinds of concessions to Russia. This is a deliberate attempt to create division among the allies. All of you, partly by manipulation,” the official told reporters on the conference call.
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