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US, Russia to hold Ukraine talks early January in Geneva



A spokesperson for the US National Security Council told AFP late Monday that the talks with Russia will take place on January 10.The Kremlin has grown increasingly insistent that the West and NATO are encroaching dangerously close to Russia's borders."The United States looks forward to engaging with Russia," the National Security Council spokesperson said.The Biden administration has insisted on taking action in lockstep with European allies.The purpose of the order was "to reassure our allies and partners of our commitment to collective defence," the official said.Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau of Poland, which takes the helm of the OSCE in the new year, will address the meeting, said a spokesperson for the organization founded during the Cold War as a forum involving Moscow and the West.The talks come after weeks of heightening tensions, with Washington accusing Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops around ex-Soviet Ukraine and plotting a winter invasion.At the United Nations, Russia's deputy envoy, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said the talks should be "serious" but also that Russia's draft agreements were not an "ultimatum" to the United States."It's a constructive proposal, but it's the proposal that works for everybody and that is in the interest of everybody," he said.Russia already occupies a swath of its neighbour in the Crimean peninsula and is accused of fomenting a separatist pro-Moscow rebellion in the industrial east of the country.Putin denies planning to attack the neighbouring country, saying the troop movements are to defend Russia against an encroaching Western military. The National Security Council spokesperson said Ukraine's interests would not be ignored in cutting any deal with Russia."President Biden's approach on Ukraine has been clear and consistent: unite the alliance behind two tracks — deterrence and diplomacy. We are unified as an alliance on the consequences Russia would face if it moves on Ukraine."The meeting is part of the Strategic Security Dialogue initiative launched by Biden and Putin, which initially has focused on resuscitating post-Cold War nuclear arms control treaties….

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