Russia does not confirm readiness to withdraw troops from Ukraine borders – U.S. State Dep’t

Photo State Department

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that after meeting with Russian counterparts in Geneva, she could not say whether Russia was ready to de-escalate tensions near Ukraine’s borders.

The official spoke about this during a telephone press conference following the meeting, Ukrinform‘s own correspondent reports.

“I don’t think we know the answer to that,” the deputy head of the U.S. State Department said when asked if the U.S. delegation had seen signs of Russia’s readiness to de-escalate the situation on the Ukrainian border.

Sherman stressed that Washington understands de-escalation as the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border to their permanent bases. Another option, Sherman added, is for Moscow to explain the nature and goals of large-scale exercises, under the pretext of which Moscow has been increasing its military presence in the region.

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“I don’t think you’d be surprised to hear that Russia indeed said to us, as they said publicly, they do not intend to invade, these are just maneuvers and exercises,” said the head of the American delegation.

She stressed that in this case, Russia can prove it has no aggressive intentions “by de-escalating and returning troops to barracks.”

Sherman also stressed that genuine progress in negotiations with the Russians can only be obtained “in a climate of de-escalation, not escalation.”

In addition, the head of the U.S. delegation noted that the Monday meeting with the Russians was not a negotiation but rather a discussion to get a better understanding of “each other and each other’s priorities and concerns.”

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