WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and its allies will raise election interference, arms agreements, Ukraine and other issues at security talks with Russia next week, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.
U.S. delegations will raise concerns with Russia’s security actions in Europe during the talks next week, Psaki told reporters.
U.S. officials are joining three sets of talks next week involving Russia as Washington tries to dissuade Moscow from invading Ukraine after massing tens of thousands of troops along its border. The first is on Monday in Geneva, with the U.S. represented by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
A NATO-Russia Council meeting will be held in Brussels on Jan. 12 and a third meeting will take place Jan. 13 in Vienna involving the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe, a group that includes the United States and Russia as members.
In a related event, a NATO-Ukraine Council meeting will take place on Tuesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded legally binding guarantees that NATO will not be expanded further and that Ukraine will not join the transatlantic alliance.
Psaki said the United States in the talks would raise a host of concerns about Russian behavior, such as the seizure of Crimea in 2014, the incursion into Georgia, attempted poisoning of opposition figures, and violation of accords such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“Let’s be clear, over the past two decades it is Russia that has invaded two neighboring countries, interfered in many other elections, used chemical weapons to attempt assassinations on foreign soil, and violated international arms control agreements,” Psaki said.
“We and our allies will be raising those issues, and other issues with Russia in the days and weeks ahead, and certainly as a part of these talks,” she said.
President Joe Biden told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday that the United State and its allies will respond decisively with economic sanctions and other steps if Russia were to invade Ukraine. He also promised that the United States and its allies and partners would do “nothing about you without you.”
Psaki said Biden has made clear that progress is possible on some issues between Russia and the West, but that some of Putin’s demands are not viable.
“We’re not responding to them point by point, and I don’t expect we will in these negotiations because in our experience you don’t make actual progress by negotiating in public, and also because many of the proposals don’t merit such a response,” she said.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler)