Nato discussions with Russia have concluded with no sign of progress towards narrowing substantial differences or defusing the crisis over Ukraine, and with the alliance’s secretary general warning “there is a real risk for a new armed conflict in Europe”.
After four hours of talks, the US delegation leader, the deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, said she had heard nothing in Brussels that differed from the Kremlin position laid out at bilateral talks in Geneva, demanding a guaranteed end to Nato expansion and a withdrawal of alliance troops in formerly Soviet bloc countries that joined the alliance after 1997.
Those proposals remained unacceptable to the US and all Nato allies, Sherman said.
“We were basically saying to the Russians: some of the things you put on the table are non-starters for us. We are not going to agree that Nato cannot expand any further. We are not going to agree to go back to 1997,” she told reporters. “Together, the United States and our Nato allies made clear we will not slam the door shut on Nato’s open-door policy, a policy that has always been central to the Nato alliance.”
Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, called the day’s meeting a “defining moment for European security”, but said “significant differences” remained. [Continue reading…]