The head of the Russian delegation at the talks with the United States, Sergei Ryabkov, says t Russia "has no intention of attacking Ukraine," while the risk of military confrontation remains high.
The official spoke following a meeting between U.S. and Russian delegates in Geneva, at a press conference broadcast online, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"We explained to our American counterparts that we have no plans or intentions to attack Ukraine, and can’t have any, while all combat training measures are being carried out within our national territory," Ryabkov said.
At the same time, he claimed the U.S. was “unwilling” to resolve the issue of "security guarantees" in a way that suits Russia."
In this context, the Russian deputy foreign minister recalled the issues of NATO non-expansion eastwards, the promise not to deploy missiles near Russia's borders, and the reversal of the vow to “engage” Ukraine into NATO.
At the same time, Ryabkov said that "the risks of a military confrontation can’t be underestimated," and that the American side, by refusing to stop NATO expansion, underestimates all seriousness of the current situation.
The US-Russia bilateral talks, which lasted more than seven hours, were held in Geneva on January 10.
The negotiations, which took the form of a U.S.-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue, were the first round of U.S. discussions with the Russians, aimed at finding ways to de-escalate the situation in Europe. The dialogue is taking place against the backdrop of the buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine's borders, as well as the Kremlin's ultimate demands for new "security guarantees" in Europe. Last month, Moscow said it wanted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to return to its 1997 position and for Ukraine and Georgia to lose any prospects of NATO accession.
The Americans denied their readiness to discuss such demands, stating they would talk with the Russians only on security issues where there is room for diplomatic dialogue.
A meeting of the Russia-NATO Council is scheduled to be held in Brussels January 12. The next day, January 13, talks with the Russian side are to take place in the format of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.