“The conversation was difficult, long, very professional, deep and specific,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, after hours of discussions with US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.“.
He added, “We have the impression that the American side took the Russian proposals very seriously,” stressing that “there is a need for a breakthrough and compromise.”
Ryabkov called on the United States to deal with Russia “in a spirit of responsibility”, warning that the growing risks of confrontation “cannot be underestimated.”“.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister condemned the US threats to act against his country, describing them as “attempts of blackmail and intimidation”, but stressed that Moscow “supports the continuation of dialogue,” adding: “I do not think that the situation is hopeless.”
Ryabkov added that Russia “will decide whether to continue talks with the United States after meetings scheduled this week with NATO, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.”.
For its part, Sherman said that Russia “did not provide any response on whether to reduce the escalation over Ukraine”, and renewed Moscow’s call to withdraw its forces from the borders of this country..
“I don’t think we know the answer to that,” Sherman told reporters when asked about Moscow’s response during the talks. “We have made it clear that it is very difficult to have constructive, productive and successful diplomacy without de-escalation,” she urged Russia to “return the soldiers to their barracks.”“.
And the US Assistant Secretary of State indicated that she discussed with her Russian counterpart, “taking reciprocal steps to reduce the escalation related to missiles and military exercises,” but renewed Moscow’s warning of the severe consequences that it will suffer if it attacks Ukraine..
“We discussed a number of ideas that would enable our two countries to take reciprocal measures that would be in our security interests and improve strategic stability,” she added.