Top U.S., Russia Diplomats Meet in Geneva to Discuss Ongoing Tension, Military Build-Up Along Ukraine

Top U.S. and Russia diplomats are set to meet Monday in Geneva to discuss and attempt to defuse tensions between the countries amid Russia’s military build-up along its border with Ukraine. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and his delegation will meet at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva to talk in-person with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her team, Just the News reports. However, diplomats express little optimism about a solution. 

The Ukraine discussions are part of a larger meeting agenda, in which the diplomats are set to discuss arms control and other broader issues. 

Ryabkov predicted “difficult” talks in Geneva that are to be followed by a NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and a Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting in Vienna Thursday. 

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Sherman is stressing America’s “commitment to the international principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the freedom of sovereign nations to choose their own alliances,” a likely reference to Ukraine’s goal of joining NATO. 

U.S. officials have also said some of Russia’s demands, including a possible halt to NATO expansion into Ukraine and other former Russian states, are in opposition to any country’s sovereign rights to set up their own security arrangements and are thus non-negotiable. 

They do, however, appear open to such ideas as curtailing possible future deployments of offensive missiles in Ukraine and limiting American and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe if Russia moves its troops off the Ukraine border.