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NATO and Russia Speak Frankly, however Previous One One other for Now

BRUSSELS — After 4 hours of talks with Russia, NATO leaders mentioned that they had been keen to interact in critical diplomacy with Moscow over arms management and missile deployments in Europe, however they rejected outright Russian calls for that the alliance cease enlargement, pull again its forces from member states bordering Russia and assure that Ukraine won’t ever be a part of.

“Vital variations” remained between NATO and Russia, and “our variations is not going to be straightforward to bridge,” mentioned the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, after the assembly.

“There’s a actual danger for brand new armed battle in Europe,” Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned, one that might carry extreme financial and different prices to Moscow, he added, and would result in new navy deployments in member states close to Russia.

America and its NATO and European Union allies are urgent Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to desert any additional invasion of Ukraine, pull again his troops and have interaction in reciprocal diplomacy on Russia’s safety considerations — and NATO’s.

Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned that NATO allies urged Russia to “instantly de-escalate the scenario in Ukraine,” where close to 100,000 Russian troops have massed near the borders, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. Russian representatives didn’t decide to pulling again the troops, nor did they reject the demand, officers mentioned.

NATO allies reaffirmed their refusal to simply accept Russian calls for to cease additional enlargement with nations that wished to affix the alliance and to withdraw all allied troops from NATO members bordering Russia. These calls for had been repeated after the talks by the Russian deputy international minister, Aleksandr V. Grushko, a former everlasting consultant to NATO from 2012-18.

“This can be a principled place, and we is not going to transfer from it,” he mentioned. However he known as the assembly “somewhat trustworthy, direct, deep and complete,” including: “However on the identical time, it confirmed a large amount of divergence on elementary questions.”

“This was a heart-to-heart dialogue,” Mr. Grushko mentioned. “I believe we had been in a position to talk to the members of the alliance that the scenario is turning into insufferable.” It was an opportunity to remind NATO that Russia, too, could have a say in the way forward for European safety, which might “carry dangers,” Mr. Grushko mentioned. “We assist peaceable options based mostly on steadiness,” he mentioned.

Mr. Grushko’s feedback indicated that Russia, for now, was not closing the door to additional diplomacy, though it has not dedicated to talks past this week. Russian officers mentioned earlier this week that they’d wait till the tip of a full week of talks — which started with an off-the-cuff dinner in Geneva on Sunday and can wrap up on Thursday in Vienna — earlier than making a call on find out how to proceed.

Russian officers deny that the country is planning to invade Ukraine, however Mr. Putin has warned of an unspecified “military-technical” response if the West doesn’t conform to Russia’s calls for. Mr. Grushko reiterated that warning, with out including readability to it.

“If NATO strikes on to a coverage of containment, then there might be a coverage of counter-containment from our aspect,” Mr. Grushko mentioned. “If there’s deterrence, there might be counter-deterrence.”

Wendy R. Sherman, the deputy secretary of state who led the U.S. delegation to the talks, known as a few of Russia’s calls for “merely non-starters” and emphasised NATO’s gives to Moscow for diplomacy.

Briefing reporters in Brussels, Ms. Sherman mentioned that NATO officers laid out for the Russians areas “the place we are able to work collectively and make actual progress,” together with on arms management, missile deployments, danger discount and larger transparency in navy workouts.

Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned that NATO allies supplied Russia a sequence of additional conferences on wider problems with European safety, together with the problems Ms. Sherman raised. However whereas the Russian delegation was usually constructive, he mentioned, they’d not or couldn’t decide to a brand new assembly. That’s one other indication that even Russia’s prime diplomats could not know what Mr. Putin’s intentions actually are.

Ms. Sherman mentioned that she hoped that after this lengthy week of discussions with prime Russian representatives, which continues on Thursday in Vienna, that they “will return to Moscow and that they’ll temporary the president of Russia, and that they’ll all admire and perceive, and the president of Russia will agree, that diplomacy is the proper path.”

She mentioned the choice was as much as Mr. Putin. “If Russia walks away,” she mentioned, it might be “fairly obvious that they had been by no means critical about pursuing diplomacy in any respect.”

Washington and its allies promise “severe costs and consequences” if Russia additional invades Ukraine, imposing “a extreme value on Russia’s economic system and monetary system,” Ms. Sherman mentioned.

Moscow’s selection might be essential for the destiny of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, meant to move pure fuel from Russia to Germany sooner or later, Ms. Sherman repeated. “From our perspective, it’s very arduous to see fuel flowing by means of the pipeline or for it to turn out to be operational if Russia renews its aggression on Ukraine.”

The pipeline, which isn’t but operational, is a Russian geopolitical mission that undermines the safety of a “vital a part of the Euro-Atlantic group,” she mentioned.

The assembly at NATO’s Brussels headquarters was the second cease in a diplomatic roadshow centered on the Kremlin, after talks in Geneva on Monday between Russian and American officers. The assembly on Thursday in Vienna with the 57-member Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe, together with Ukraine, will happen at a decrease diplomatic degree — with ambassadors somewhat than international ministers and different prime officers.

If Russia decides to pursue its goals diplomatically somewhat than go to struggle once more in Ukraine, a number of the negotiations on future European safety will happen underneath the auspices of the O.S.C.E.

The Russian delegation at NATO was led by Mr. Grushko and the deputy protection minister, Aleksandr V. Fomin. They spoke at size initially of the assembly, laying out Russia’s calls for and considerations. Within the subsequent exchanges, all 30 NATO members spoke with what Ms. Sherman known as “wonderful unity” on NATO’s core values, which embody its openness to any nation that needs to affix and qualifies to take action.

Earlier than Wednesday’s assembly, Mr. Grushko informed reporters that “the second of reality in our relationship with the alliance is arriving,” in line with Russian information companies.

“This wasn’t a simple dialogue, however that’s precisely why this assembly was so essential,” Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned, including that NATO allies and Russia had “a really critical and direct change on the scenario in and round Ukraine, and implications for European safety.”

America and its NATO allies hope that Mr. Putin will resolve to barter, as he’s now confronted with threats of punishing financial sanctions and new deployments in NATO allies bordering Russia, like Poland, the Baltic nations and Turkey.

The problem of latest deployments is a reside dialogue, the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, informed Reuters. “After all, we’re discussing with our allies to extend their presence right here to behave as a deterrent,” she mentioned. “When you have a look at the map, the Baltic states are a NATO peninsula and due to this fact now we have our worries.”

Polish officers additionally appeared happy with the American and NATO responses to Moscow’s calls for. “Our place is obvious,” Lukasz Jasina, the spokesman for Poland’s international minister, mentioned. “Solely NATO and member nations resolve about NATO issues. And nobody else.”

Russia is a neighbor however can’t be allowed to stress others, mentioned Poland’s deputy international minister, Marcin Przydacz. “What Russia has left is intimidation, however as this smaller accomplice, with a diminishing function on this planet, the argument that ‘if you don’t hearken to us, we are going to beat the smaller colleague’ can’t be taken into consideration.”

After Monday’s talks, Sergei A. Ryabkov, who led the Russian aspect, warned that if the West didn’t conform to Russia’s calls for to tug again NATO’s footprint in Japanese Europe and reject any future membership for Ukraine, it might face unspecified penalties that might put the “safety of the entire European continent” in danger.

The Individuals and Russians say that after this week, they’ll focus on whether or not to maintain speaking.

That’s, except Mr. Putin decides to argue that Washington and its allies don’t take Russia’s calls for severely — and chooses to make use of this week as a pretext to go to struggle.

Anton Troianovski reported from Bratislava. Reporting was contributed by Monika Pronczuk in Brussels and Michael Crowley in Washington.

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