US threats, blackmail will not work against Russia: deputy FM
As tensions grow over Ukraine and NATO, Russia says the non-expansion of the alliance is a pivotal issue for its security and stresses that the West knows nothing but sanctions and threats.
Attempts by the United States to pressure and intimidate Russia are unacceptable and will not lead to the desired result, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Monday, highlighting, however, that Moscow was still willing to negotiate.
"We constantly hear about a certain price... that Russia will have to pay if it does or does not do something that these people want us or do not want to do; it's as if history hasn't taught them anything... Such a tone of conversation is, in principle, unacceptable for us. It will not yield the results they are looking for," the top diplomat stressed.
"There are attempts to put forward an ultimatum. These are attempts to blackmail and intimidate," Ryabkov asserted following security talks with the US in Geneva.
He highlighted that he understood that the West's modern foreign policy has nothing in its arsenal aside from sanctions and blackmail.
"Russia is still willing to carry on and will - if necessary - teach the lost skill of negotiating," he asserted in a message to the west.
Ryabkov also noted that the two world powers had common understanding that dialogue on strategic stability and arms control would continue.
"I don't think the situation is hopeless. I think the negotiations in Geneva are useful in that, for the first time, we have been able to talk about issues that previously were invisible; everyone understood they existed but pretended it was better not to voice them," Ryabkov asserted.
He explained that things were now "called by their proper names," which he said would make Russia's relations with the West healthier.
Regarding Moscow's issue with the NATO expanding eastward, Ryabkob revealed that no progress had been made.
The Kremlin sees that it is best for Russian security that the alliance does not expand eastward and that Russia does not have any Western military activity in its vicinity.
Ryabkov underlined that Moscow expects the US to object to its calls for not expanding the alliance. However, he asserted that it was impossible to postpone the settlement of this issue.
The Geneva talks come less than two weeks after a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden to discuss the mounting tensions over Ukraine.
The talks come as the West, mainly the United States, and Russia are going head to head over Ukraine, with the West accusing Moscow of having a military buildup on its shared borders with Ukraine, which they claim amounts to 100,000 troops.
Moscow and Kyiv both denied these claims. The secretary of the Ukrainian Security and Defense Council said Thursday his country believed there was no immediate threat of a major Russian invasion.