“An event took place last week that the whole world watched without exaggeration.
Putin is threatening Europe with a major war. One hundred thousand Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and Kremlin ultimatums on so-called security guarantees from NATO have forced the West to resume diplomatic dialogue with the Kremlin. Ukraine is in the center of attention.
In the conditions of emergency security measures, elite cars enter the territory of the US Mission in Geneva. Switzerland, as a symbol of international neutrality, became the first venue for a diplomatic duel.
There is a solid distance between the delegates. Relations between America and Russia have not been so tense for decades.
In the American corner of the ring, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. She heads the Washington delegation. She was nicknamed the Silver Fox for her ability to negotiate and color her hair in diplomatic circles.
The delegation from Moscow, like the Russian coat of arms, is two-headed. Putin put two fighters in the Russian corner at once. Oleksandr Fomin, Deputy Minister of Defense and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Serhiy Ryabkov, was noted for his undiplomatic statements: he literally said that NATO would collect manatees and retreat to the 97th anniversary.
The talks lasted more than eight hours behind closed doors. The key question was whether Washington would agree to Moscow’s ultimatum not to expand to the east, and specifically provide legal guarantees to Moscow not to include Ukraine in the Alliance. In this round, Wendy Sherman gave Moscow a diplomatic uppercut.
– We will not allow anyone to slam the door of NATO, which is always open, and to interfere in the bilateral relations of sovereign states that want to cooperate with the United States, and we will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine.
Trying to evade a direct blow, Ryabkov, who had previously threatened to punish Ukraine if the Kremlin failed to comply, changed his rhetoric after talking to Sherman.
The states have not succumbed to Moscow’s ultimatum on legal guarantees against Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance, and Russia will continue to increase military power on Ukraine’s borders for blackmail.
Russia’s military blackmail will continue until Putin agrees with the West to share spheres of influence in Europe, where Ukraine will fall within its competence. Therefore, the story of Russian pressure is almost endless.
But the talks in Geneva were just the beginning, and the duel continued at NATO Headquarters.
This round may not have taken place – the Russians threatened to withdraw from the talks, but later changed their minds. The Russia-NATO meeting is the first such summit since 2019, when the Alliance announced a boycott of the Russians after their attempt to poison a newcomer to the former spy Skripal in Britain.
The round lasted 4 years. In Brussels, Kremlin delegates had to hold back from all 30 members of the Alliance at once. It was a unique opportunity for the West to demonstrate transatlantic unity, which is exactly what happened.”