“Drumbeat Of War Sounding Loud” US Says After Russia Declares Talks At “Dead End”
A top US security official in Europe has warned the “drumbeat of war is sounding loud” amid this week’s series of NATO and Russian talks, also as Washington and Brussels continue to condemn Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine.
“We’re facing a crisis in European security. The drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill,” US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter said Thursday.
“If the Russians walk away from these talks, it’ll be clear that they were never serious about diplomacy in the first place,” he added. However, the Russian side was miffed when at the very start of talks Monday in Geneva (and subsequent talks in Brussels and Vienna), the US declared its core demand of no more NATO eastward expansion to be a “non-starter” in the talks.
The US side is still standing by this, also recently accusing Moscow of using its troop placement near Ukraine – said to be up to 100,000 – in order to present “ultimatums” to the West. Further, Carpenter presented the US side as having extended an open hand of dialogue, which officials on both sides have stopped far short of recognizing as “negotiations” on any level.
“We’re prepared to extend, we have already extended a hand, to offer a serious genuine dialogue,” the envoy added. So for now, after Thursday’s talks wrapped of the week of three meetings, the key question remaining is whether the dialogue will be extended. “We’re going to have to see if the Russians are prepared to engage,” Carpenter concluded. But it remains that:
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