US-Russia preliminary meeting was ‘stunning’ but ‘difficult,’ diplomat reveals

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said that Moscow and Washington were not going to ‘waste time’ on Monday

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has optimistically described preliminary talks with Washington on security guarantees as “stunning” but noted that the “conversation was difficult.”

On Sunday evening Ryabkov held a two-hour meeting with his American counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in Geneva, ahead of the full-day US-Russia meeting, scheduled for Monday and coming amid the latest round of tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Answering questions of the media on his assessment of the preliminary consultations, Ryabkov said that they were “stunning” and that the “conversation was difficult but business-like” with the participants having “dived into the matter of upcoming affairs.”

I think we are not going to waste time tomorrow,” he noted, adding that he never loses optimism.

The talks were prompted by escalating tensions between Russia and the West in recent months. Western nations are concerned about Moscow’s alleged plans to invade Ukraine – something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied and blamed on anti-Russian “hysteria.”

The situation prompted Moscow to table a set of security proposals, which included curbs on NATO expansion and security guarantees for Russia. Some of these demands have already been rejected by the US and its allies, as both NATO and Washington have said that the alliance would never promise not to expand.

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