The high-stakes negotiation over the security guarantees between Moscow and the West began with a preliminary dinner night on January 9. On January 10, Russian-US strategic negotiations ended after almost 8 hours.

Both delegations are headed by experienced negotiators, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Russian counterpart Sergei Ryabkov, accompanied by senior officials of the Ministries of Defense.

Even before the negotiations began, there was deep pessimism on both sides that a diplomatic solution was within reach.

The U.S. delegation claimed that only the bilateral issues of Russia’s proposals to Washington will be discussed, but not what other NATO member countries and non-NATO states have a sovereign interest in.

Following the negotiations, the heads of the delegations made important claims, which made obvious the fact that there was no significant agreement reached between the sides:

Sergei Ryabkov:

Negotiations on security guarantees with the United States were difficult, long and concrete, is specific, with no attempts to embellish anything.

There is a basis for reaching an agreement with the United States and NATO on security guarantees, the search for a balance of interests is possible.

There was no progress in the negotiations with the United States in Geneva on non-expansion of NATO.

The legal formalization of the issue of non-expansion of NATO is of paramount importance for Russia.

Attempts by the United States and NATO to blackmail and intimidate Russia are unacceptable, they will not give results.

Wendy Sherman:

Delegations of the United States and the Russian Federation confirmed in Geneva that a nuclear war cannot be won and should not be launched.

The US will not allow anyone to close the door to NATO to any country  ready to impose sanctions against key financial institutions, tighten export controls, support its allies.

The United States will not discuss the prospects for Ukraine’s admission to NATO without Kiev.

The preliminary ideas of the United States, outlined in Geneva, relate in particular to the deployment of missiles.

USA is interested in negotiations with Russia on strategic and tactical weapons, missiles in Europe, transparency, scale of military exercises

Sergei Ryabkov:

Of course, it was not a surprise for us that from the American side… claims were made about the concentration of Russian troops along the borders of Ukraine, certain threats were made.

We explained to our colleagues that we have no plans to “attack” Ukraine, and all measures for the training of troops are carried out on our territory.

There is no reason to fear an escalation scenario, all maneuvers of the Russian troops take place within the national territory.

If the United States does not refuse to deploy the military capacities, which is developing very rapidly, then in the near future somewhere in Europe, it may require some kind of military response from Russia.

We concluded the day and a half of discussions by stating that we will judge the further steps and prospects of this work based on the results of the events that are yet to be held. Meeting with NATO and OSCE. After that, it will be more clear whether there is a basis to offer any political decision in favor of continuing this process, or we will regret to state that the NATO group considered it right to reject our initiative. Then the situation will look different.

Wendy Sherman:

The US and the Russian Federation are not ready yet to discuss specific agreements in the field of security, now the parties are trying to understand each other better.

USA suggested RF to hold further bilateral consultations soon.

On January 12, the delegations will travel to Brussels for a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council, which will be attended by all 30 members of the alliance. This will be the first such meeting of the Council since 2019.

On January 13, a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be held in Vienna chaired by Poland. Although it will be held at the level of ambassadors, it will also involve non-NATO European states, such as Finland and Sweden.

Probably, the ongoing negotiations will not lead to any significant progress in solving the existing problems between Russia and the West or meeting any demands, even on the basis of some compromises. The talks are mainly aimed at identifying the official positions and red lines for all members of the alliance and Moscow.