US, Russia begin security talks amid Ukraine tension

‘US will listen to Russia’s concerns and share our own,’ says US deputy secretary of state.

US, Russia begin security talks amid Ukraine tension

Security talks between the US and Russia began in Geneva on Monday.

The talks started between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov at the US mission to the UN office in Geneva.

“The U.S. will listen to Russia’s concerns and share our own, but we have been clear we will not discuss European security without our Allies and partners,” Sherman said on Twitter.

The US has described talks as an "extraordinary meeting" of the two nuclear powers' Strategic Stability Dialogue (SSD).

Both countries have said they will speak to the media after their meeting.

Among the issues expected to be discussed included Russian troops near Ukraine's border, NATO's eastward expansion, nuclear weapons control, cybercrime, and other bilateral matters.

Sherman and Ryabkov had also met on Sunday in Geneva to prepare for the meeting.

"The Deputy Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister discussed the bilateral topics both sides would address during the extraordinary meeting of the Strategic Stability Dialogue (SSD) January 10," said the US in a statement.

‘Commitment to diplomacy’

Sherman stressed the US commitment to diplomacy and "the international principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the freedom of sovereign nations to choose their own alliances."

"The United States will discuss certain bilateral issues with Russia at the SSD but will not discuss European security without our European Allies and partners," said the statement.

Sherman said some subjects would only arise at the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels on Jan. 12 and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting in Vienna the day after.

Russia had said it will seek firm legal guarantees for the non-expansion of NATO to the east and the non-deployment of weapons systems threatening Russia at the country's borders.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on NATO to start talks seeking to provide Moscow with reliable, legally binding, and long-term security guarantees.

The US also released the transcript of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," which aired earlier on Sunday on ABC TV regarding Russia's buildup of troops on the Ukrainian border in which America had offered two paths.

"One is through diplomacy and dialogue; the other is through deterrence and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine," said Blinken.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met in Geneva on June 16, and the two leaders decided to continue dialogue to resolve issues that could cause conflict.