Officials say Biden administration is open to talks with Russia on limiting possible future deployment of offensive missiles in Ukraine and limiting military exercises.
US officials have raised the possibility of restricting military maneuvers and missile deployment in Eastern Europe as long as Russia is reciprocated before talks on growing tensions while Russian forces surround Ukraine.
U.S. officials spoke on Saturday about the possibility of incremental shifts in decisions about the United States’ future strategic position in Europe. But they too said Russia will be hit with dismantling sanctions should it intervene in Ukraine.
Officials said the Biden administration would be open to talks with Russia on limiting possible future deployment of offensive missiles in Ukraine and limiting US and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe.
“There are some areas … where we think it is possible to make progress,” provided any promises are “mutual,” said one official on condition of anonymity, detailing a conference call.
“Russia says it feels threatened by the prospect of offensive missile systems being deployed in Ukraine… The United States has no plans to do so. “This is one area where we may be able to reach an understanding if Russia is willing to make a reciprocal commitment.”
Moscow “has also expressed an interest in discussing the future of certain missile systems in Europe, in line with the INF Treaty [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty]”And” we are open to discuss it, “the official said.
The remarks came as senior US and Russian officials were preparing to meet in Switzerland on Monday amid heightened tensions over Ukraine.
Russia said on Sunday it was “disappointed” by US and NATO signals. Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as saying that Moscow was not optimistic about entering into the talks.
Officials said the US was prepared to discuss certain, limited aspects of its European security position in those talks. But they stressed that any agreements would depend on Russia to remove threats to Ukraine and no decisions would be taken without the consent of Ukraine or NATO.
And they said there was no chance the US would reduce its military presence or arsenal in Eastern Europe as Russia had demanded.
While these remarks, made to reporters on condition of anonymity in a White House organized conference call, were the first to suggest a willingness to compromise on issues concerning Ukraine, they were accompanied by threats for Russian lack of action on the U.S. demands to resign.
In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, “we will – in coordination with our allies and partners – immediately impose serious and overwhelming costs on Russia’s economy, including its financial system and sectors considered critical of the Kremlin, said another official.
In addition to sanctions against energy and consumer goods, the US and its allies are considering a ban on exports to Russia of advanced electronic components, software and related technologies used by US equipment. Russia could be added to the most restrictive group of countries for export control purposes, along with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria, officials said.
This would mean that Russia’s ability to acquire integrated circuits, and products containing integrated circuits, would be severely curtailed due to the global dominance of American software, technology and equipment in this sector. The ban could extend to aircraft avionics, machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, tablets and televisions.
US officials were careful not to issue ultimatums to Russia, while at the same time demanding that threats to Ukraine cease. But they also flatly rejected Russia’s demands that NATO not expand further east, and that the US remove troops and weapons from Eastern Europe.
Despite that view, the US and NATO have shown a willingness to explore compromises on related issues.
Russia says it feels threatened by the prospect of the United States deploying offensive missile systems in Ukraine despite President Joe Biden’s assurance to his counterpart Vladimir Putin that he does not intend to do so.
One official said Washington is open to a broader discussion on missile deployment in the region after the previous Trump administration withdrew from the 1987 US-Russia Intermediate Series of Nuclear Power Treaty in 2019 on allegations that Moscow violated the agreement has.
Monday’s meeting will be followed on Wednesday by talks between Russia and NATO members and on Thursday by a wider European audience.