U.S. tamps down expectations for talks with Russia amid Ukraine crisis

Written by on January 9, 2022

January 9, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday he does not expect breakthroughs in U.S.-Russia security talks this week but hopes to find some common ground amid a crisis in Ukraine.

“I don’t think we’re going to see any breakthroughs in the coming week,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We’re going to be able to put things on the table. Russians will do the same … and we’ll see if there are grounds for moving forward,” he said.

He said any progress would depend on actions from both sides in negotiations that Washington hopes will avert prospects for a new Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Any movement to resolve the issues, he said, will have to happen on a reciprocal basis.

Blinken’s comments lowering expectations for the upcoming talks echoed Russia’s hard line on Sunday that it would not make any concessions under U.S. pressure at talks this week on the Ukraine crisis.

He stressed that progress would be difficult, if not impossible, amid Moscow’s large military buildup at its border with Ukraine.

“To make actual progress, it’s very hard to see that happening when there’s an ongoing escalation, when Russia has a gun to the head of Ukraine with 100,000 troops near its borders,” Blinken said on ABC’s “This Week.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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