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US says Russia made no commitments to de-escalate Ukraine disaster after newest spherical of talks

Sherman instructed reporters that Wednesday’s assembly between NATO and Russia ended with a “sober challenge from the NATO allies to Russia” to reply to the alternatives supplied by the worldwide neighborhood to de-escalate the scenario on the border with Ukraine and select the trail of diplomacy.

But Sherman, who spoke forcefully in regards to the West’s unified message to Moscow following the roughly four-hour session in Brussels, made clear the US and its Western allies do not but know what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals are following the diplomatic conferences, with greater than 100,000 Russian troops positioned on the Ukrainian border.

As the talks this week, the US has finalized sanctions choices within the occasion that Russia invades Ukraine, senior administration officers mentioned on Wednesday.

“When live fire exercises are reported this morning. What is this about?” Sherman mentioned, referring to studies about Russian workouts. “Is this about invasion? Is this about intimidation? Is this about trying to be subversive? I don’t know. But it is not conducive to getting diplomatic solutions.”

Asked by CNN’s Alex Marquardt if the Russians had made any commitments to de-escalate, Sherman mentioned they didn’t.

“There was no commitment to de-escalation, no,” she mentioned, earlier than pausing and including: “Nor was there a statement that there would not be.”

Sherman added that the Russians themselves might not even know the way they intend to make use of or act upon this week’s diplomatic talks with the US and NATO. She mentioned that the US believes that progress will be made — if Russia engages on points the place there are overlapping pursuits.

“There is plenty to work on, where we have places where we can enhance mutual security. There are some places we cannot. But there is progress that can be made,” Sherman mentioned.

Russia says scenario is changing into ‘insupportable’

Russia’s deputy protection minister Alexander Fomin issued an announcement Wednesday sounding pessimistic in regards to the talks, saying it was NATO who was ignoring Russia’s proposals to de-escalate — and warning that would result in conflicts.

“The Russian side has repeatedly proposed to the alliance to take measures to de-escalate the situation,” Fomin mentioned. “On the part of the alliance, Russian initiatives were ignored. This creates prerequisites for incidents and conflicts, undermines the foundations of security.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko mentioned that the Russian facet instructed NATO international locations the present scenario was changing into “intolerable” for Moscow.

“At some point, the risks associated with continuing the same course of NATO may outweigh the advantages that they want to get,” Grushko mentioned.

During Wednesday’s roughly assembly — which went longer than scheduled — Sherman mentioned that the US and its NATO allies as soon as once more made clear Russia’s demand Ukraine by no means be permitted to hitch NATO was a non-starter. Sherman referred to as it “hard to understand” how Russia may really feel threatened by Ukraine when it has the biggest standard navy in Europe.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, right, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, arrive at the NATO-Russia Council at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, on January 12, 2022.

Wednesday’s session with the NATO-Russia Council was the second of three deliberate for this week. The US delegation led by Sherman met with the Russians on Monday, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will maintain a session with Russia on Thursday in Vienna.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned Wednesday that the assembly between NATO and Russia over the scenario in Ukraine was “not an easy discussion” and that “differences will not be easy to bridge,” however added that NATO allies and Russia “expressed the need to resume dialogue.”

“We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine and the implications for European security,” he instructed reporters. “There are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on these issues. Our differences will not be easy to bridge but it is a positive sign that all NATO allies and Russia sat down around the same table and engaged on substantial topics.”

US finalizes sanctions choices

The Biden administration has sanctions targets and implementation measures “ready to go to be issued when those tanks cross the border,” a senior administration official mentioned.

“The final package will depend upon exactly what scenario we are facing,” the official mentioned. “But we are no longer at the point where we have just a memo that lays out options. We have concrete actions that we are ready to hit the return key on.”

As CNN beforehand reported, the White House during the last a number of weeks had been analyzing the impacts numerous sanctions choices would haven’t simply on Russia but in addition on the European and American economies. Biden administration officers mentioned Wednesday the US and its allies decided that whereas extreme financial sanctions will probably have international financial ramifications, any spillover will be managed.

Tensions are high on Ukraine's border with Russia. Here's what you need to know

“The European financial system and its overall economy are in far better health than in 2014, particularly in the banking sector,” one of many officers mentioned.

The US can also be conscious of the chance that Putin tries to retaliate towards any financial sanctions by weaponizing the export of Russian fuel to Europe, which depends closely on Russian power provides. One of the officers mentioned that if Putin went down that path, it could “stiffen the resolve of Europe to find supplies elsewhere.”

“We are well aware of the potential impact of a reduction of Russian energy supply, both in the European market” and globally, the official mentioned, including {that a} vary of contingency choices for that situation are being developed.

Sources accustomed to these contingencies mentioned they embody gas switching, wherein sure power sources are changed with others to fulfill calls for, in addition to the elevated import of liquid pure fuel from LNG-producing international locations like Norway, the Netherlands, Qatar, and the UAE. European authorities are additionally taking a look at how a lot of a buffer their storages would supply within the occasion Russia shut off exports, the sources mentioned.

They emphasised that Russia’s financial system can also be extremely dependent upon fuel export revenues.

Asked about efforts by some Republican members of Congress, significantly Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, to sanction the Russia-Germany fuel pipeline Nord Stream 2 and basically kill the challenge, the senior administration officers mentioned they consider doing so now would scale back the West’s leverage over Russia.

Even earlier than the most recent Russian troop buildup on the Ukraine border, nevertheless, the Biden administration waived further, congressionally mandated sanctions on Nord Stream 2, arguing that doing so would injury US relations with Germany, which sees the pipeline as a industrial challenge.

Russian troops conduct live-fire workouts

Wednesday’s assembly comes as the 2 sides are caught in impasse, with fears mounting that Russia may launch an invasion into Ukraine.

Moscow has dismissed such claims. However, Russia has been amassing as many as 100,000 troops close to the Ukrainian frontier, and on the eve of the talks, the navy started live-fire drills in areas near the border.

The United States, NATO and their allies are pushing Russia to de-escalate the scenario. Moscow has demanded safety ensures from the US and NATO, together with a binding pledge that NATO will not increase additional east and won’t permit Ukraine to hitch the navy alliance — one thing NATO will not be keen to do.

“At this point, let me be very, very clear — no one is suggesting that we alter NATO policy on enlargement,” US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith instructed CNN on Tuesday.

Rather than being framed as a bilateral NATO-Russia assembly, Wednesday’s gathering noticed every of NATO’s 30 member states and Russia represented equally, in a discussion board of 31. The assembly is the second of three key engagements between the West and Russia this week.

On Monday, representatives from the US and Russia sat down in Geneva for greater than seven hours of discussions.

The marathon talks, which the White House described as “frank and forthright,” didn’t produce a breakthrough. Another spherical of talks between Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) — of which the US is a member — are scheduled in Vienna on Thursday.

Ukraine mentioned Tuesday that it was assured that the US and different NATO international locations wouldn’t decide “on the fate” of the nation “behind our backs” throughout the conferences.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi, Michael Conte, Kylie Atwood, Ellie Kaufman, Luke McGee, Katharina Krebs, Nikki Carvajal, Alex Marquardt, Mick Krever and James Frater contributed reporting.

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