Ukraine’s Drumbeats of War: What’s Next After ‘Unsuccessful’ Russia-West Talks

Written by | Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

The unprecedented array of meetings between the West and Russia this week to resolve the security crisis surrounding Ukraine have not led to a breakthrough. Experts expect that the crisis will escalate as Moscow ups the ante by threatening to resort to “military-technical measures,” as President Vladimir Putin put it, if the West continues down that path. Russia has been involved in a large-scale military build up on its borders with Ukraine since autumn last year. The agenda of the talks has revolved around security policy in Europe and the potential NATO membership of ex-Soviet states like Ukraine and Georgia. In 2008, NATO offered both countries the prospect of joining the bloc — without, however, fixing a date. But week of talks has failed to bring the parties any closer — and no signs of any easing of tensions in the Ukraine crisis.
Russia has described its security talks with the United States and NATO as “unsuccessful”, saying there is continued disagreement on fundamental issues. The two rounds of discussions so far in Geneva and Brussels had produced some “positive nuances” but that Moscow was looking for concrete results, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday (13 January). The US and NATO, on their part, have rejected Moscow’s demand for a de facto veto right regarding accession of new members to the military alliance. It will, however, still take a number of days before Washington sends Moscow its official written response. Further talks are not currently planned. Moscow has announced repeatedly that it is not interested in protracted discussions, but wants quick results. But they say they have not set a deadline.
“It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years,” Poland’s foreign minister warned in a speech at the OSCE meeting on Thursday. Due to the current tensions, “for several weeks, we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe,” Zbigniew Rau said while not naming Russia, but mentioned tensions in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova – all countries with active or frozen conflicts involving Russia. Meanwhile, Russia’s aggressive behavior has prompted the neighboring Baltic States to seek to host more NATO troops, according to Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas. ”We are discussing with our allies to increase their presence here to act as a deterrent … If you look at the map, the Baltic states are a Nato peninsula and therefore we have our worries,” Kallas said. NATO currently has three multinational battalions in the region.

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