Russia and Ukraine: threats instead of de-escalation

Status: 01/14/2022 11:14 a.m

An intense week of diplomacy lies behind Russia, the US, Ukraine and NATO. There was little rapprochement on major points of contention. However, both Moscow and Kiev see positive signs for themselves.

By Christina Nagel, ARD Studio Moscow

No breakthrough, no de-escalation. Instead, new threatening gestures: The US Senate is loudly considering further sanctions, and Moscow is speculating about possible military options. The diplomats involved in the negotiations are concerned, but surprisingly not disappointed. Which could be because the talks ended unsuccessfully, but were not considered a failure.

Christina Nagel
ARD Studio Moscow

And not because they – contrary to what was feared at the beginning – were not broken off after a very short time without result. On the contrary, they took longer than planned – and according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, they were: “Very professional, profound and concrete. There were no attempts to sugarcoat anything or to beat around the bush.”

Kremlin wants to keep up the pressure

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also sees the fact that this time the conflicting, seemingly incompatible positions were discussed calmly and objectively as a positive signal. It shows, he said on a political talk show on Russian television, that Washington is considering negotiations.

To keep it that way, the Kremlin is likely to try to keep up the pressure. Also and especially on the Ukrainian border. Just as President Vladimir Putin announced in November: “Our recent warnings are being heeded and are having an effect.”

demands on NATO

It’s about signaling to the US leadership that Russia is serious about demanding a halt to NATO’s eastward expansion – not just with a view to admitting Ukraine and Georgia, but also with a view to maneuvers and deployment of troops and weapons, as the Russian representative at the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, emphasized: “The fact that the situation is getting worse has to do with the speed with which the alliance is militarily opening up countries in which offensive weapons are stationed, which very quickly can harm the security of the Russian Federation.”

The Kremlin has already rejected calls for an end to the numerous maneuvers on the Ukrainian border. Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov also brought other measures into play.

When asked whether the Russian military was stationed in Cuba or Venezuela, for example, he explained on the RTVI television channel that he could neither confirm nor rule out such a possibility.

Ukraine takes threats seriously

In Ukraine, the threats are taken seriously. In Kiev they are pushing for further, preventive sanctions – “because you can’t stop the enemy after he has set foot over the threshold,” said Valeriy Kravchenko of the National Institute for Strategic Research on Radio Liberty Ukraine.

The fact that the USA and NATO have promised Ukraine further support and that the door of the alliance remains open is seen in Kiev as an important signal.

Despite the tense rhetoric on all sides, at the end of a long week of negotiations there is certainly hope that this was just the beginning – for further diplomatic efforts to increase security and peace in Europe.

Leave a Comment