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NATO Foreign Ministers Coordinate Russia Strategy Ahead Of Busy Week.

NATO foreign ministers are due to meet via videoconference on January 7 to discuss their approaches to a handful of major gatherings next week concerning Russia's actions with respect to Ukraine.

The conferral comes amid Western warnings about tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed near the border and with Russian President Vladimir Putin demanding guarantees that NATO won't allow Kyiv to join the transatlantic military alliance.

Post-Soviet Ukraine, which has been fighting a war with Russia-backed separatists in its east since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, has repeatedly asserted its strategic and foreign-policy goal of NATO membership since the alliance promised eventual full membership in 2008.

Western officials have cited evidence of about 90,000 Russian troops and equipment recently being deployed near the Ukrainian border.

Moscow has responded by accusing the United States of destabilizing the Black Sea and other nearby regions and saying its troop movements are an internal matter.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on January 6 about "risk reduction near Ukraine’s borders," according to the Pentagon.

Veteran U.S. and Russian diplomats are scheduled to gather in Geneva on January 10 in an effort to avert crisis.

The same day, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will visit NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The NATO-Russia Council is then slated to meet for the first time since 2019 on January 12 to discuss Ukraine, transparency, and risk reduction.

EU foreign ministers then meet in northwestern France on January 13-14, with reports suggesting they and their allies are preparing harsh punitive measures to be enacted if Russia escalates militarily against its neighbor.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Politico

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