Russia’s proposals on security guarantees could serve as a springboard for re-engagement, Dmitry Peskov says US President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva on June 16, 2021. © Mikhail METZEL / SPUTNIK / AFP
Potential talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden would depend on Washington’s willingness to hear Moscow’s security concerns, the Kremlin press secretary said on Sunday.
Speaking to the Rossiya-1 TV channel, Dmitry Peskov said high-level re-engagement could happen if the United States “pays heed to our concerns.”
It would be contingent on “the US desire to go back to the state of things as of December-January and ask the question: what the Russians are offering may not suit all of us, but maybe we should still sit down with them at the negotiating table?”
The spokesman explained that he was referring to the draft documents on security guarantees that Moscow submitted to both Brussels and Washington before the Ukraine conflict broke out in late February.
In mid-December last year, the Russian Foreign Ministry published the drafts of two treaties – one with the US and one with NATO – with a list of Moscow’s security demands, in a bid to lower tensions in Europe.
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At the time, Russia wanted the West to ban Ukraine from entering NATO and limit the deployment of troops and weapons on the bloc’s eastern flank. It also insisted that the military alliance retreat to its borders as of 1997, before it expanded eastwards.
While neither the US nor NATO gave written responses to Russia’s proposals, they both rebuffed Moscow’s demand that Ukraine should be barred from the bloc.
Earlier this month, Putin said he saw no need for talks with his US counterpart, explaining that “there is no platform for any negotiations yet.” The statement was echoed by the White House, which stated that Joe Biden does not plan to meet with the Russian leader at the G20 summit next month, despite earlier refusing to rule out the possibility.
The last time the two leaders met in person was in June 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. The talks were followed up by a virtual summit in December, with Ukraine being one of the topics on the agenda. (RT)