US and Russia still at odds after talks over Ukraine tensions

Russia and US discuss Ukraine frictions and European security at talks in Geneva with no sign the two sides had narrowed their differences.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attend security talks at the United States Mission in Geneva, Switzerland [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]
Russia and the United States gave no sign that they had narrowed their differences on Ukraine and wider European security in talks in Geneva, as Moscow repeated demands that Washington says it cannot accept.

Russia has massed troops near Ukraine’s border while demanding that the US-led NATO alliance rule out admitting the former Soviet state or expanding further into what Moscow sees as its back yard.

“Unfortunately we have a great disparity in our principled approaches to this. The US and Russia in some ways have opposite views on what needs to be done,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters.

Talks lasted for more than seven hours in Geneva on Monday. Ryabkov said Russian officials “had the impression that the American side took Russian proposals very seriously”.

Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said: “We were firm … in pushing back on security proposals that are simply non-starters to the United States.”

Sherman told reporters she had offered “a number of ideas where our two countries could take reciprocal action that would be in our security interest and improve strategic stability”.

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