Russian officials to brief Putin on “very disappointing” security talks

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Russian diplomats put a halt to this week’s security talks with the US, NATO and other European countries after a final set of talks on Thursday, telling reporters that Vladimir Putin is “really disappointing” before deciding “next steps”. Information will be given on the situation.

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Why this matters: Diplomats would not say what Russia would do if NATO refused to provide legal guarantees that it would not expand east or accept Ukraine as a member. But officials have warned throughout the week that Russia will not hesitate to “eliminate unacceptable threats to our national security” if diplomacy fails.

big picture: More than 100,000 Russian troops have gathered along the border with Ukraine, raising fears that Putin will attack his vulnerable neighbor in an attempt to stop Kiev’s drift to the west.

  • “It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE region is now greater than ever in the past 30 years,” Zbigniew Rau, the Polish president of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting in Vienna.
  • His comments echoed that of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who warned after a NATO-Russia council meeting on Wednesday that the coalition was preparing for a “real risk of a new armed conflict in Europe”.
  • US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter told a press briefing on Thursday: “We are facing a crisis in European security. The drums of war are ringing and the rhetoric intensifies.”
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Running news: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the US-Russia bilateral talks on Monday, said “I don’t see reasons to sit down, regroup and start similar discussions in the coming days.” tv interview,

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US had promised a written response to its demands, which Moscow would review before deciding the way forward.
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also denounced US legislation introduced by Senate Democrats this week that would impose a cascade of sanctions – including those from Putin himself – if Russia invades Ukraine.
  • “Approving the head of state is a humiliating measure equivalent to severing ties,” Peskov said, calling it an “extremely negative” gesture against the background of ongoing negotiations.

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