Brussels: Representatives from Russia and NATO are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday for high-stakes talks; to defuse growing tensions over Russia’s military buildup near the Ukraine border.
The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting comes as fears mount that Russia could invade Ukraine. Although Moscow has dismissed such claims, it has amassed 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian frontier.
The United States, NATO, and their allies push Russia to de-escalate the situation. Instead, Moscow has demanded security guarantees, including a pledge binding NATO not to expand further east; and not allow Ukraine to join the military alliance — something NATO is not willing to do.
The new round of talks on Wednesday will see each of NATO’s 30 member states represented individually and Russia in a forum of 31. This week, the meeting is the second of three critical engagements between the West and Russia.
On Monday, the US and Russian representatives sat down in Geneva for more than seven hours of discussions. The marathon round of discussion, described as “frank and forthright,” did not produce a breakthrough. As a result, another round of negotiations is scheduled between Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.
Ukraine says it’s confident that the US and other NATO countries would not decide its fate “behind our backs” during the meetings.