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World: Russia, U.S. to Discuss NATO Expansion Next Week as Tensions Remain High With Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Says U.S., Russia Will Have Talks Early Next Year About Ukraine

  Russian Foreign Minister Says U.S., Russia Will Have Talks Early Next Year About Ukraine Negotiations will focus on demands made by both sides recently, as Russia wants the U.S. and its NATO allies to refuse Ukraine's entry into the organization."We don't want a war," Lavrov said on Russia's RT television network. "We don't want to take the path of confrontation. But we will firmly ensure our security using the means we consider necessary.

Russia and the United States will begin planned discussions regarding potential NATO expansion next week.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the talks in an interview on Monday. He said that the "main work of negotiations" will occur after Russia celebrates its holiday season, which lasts through January 9, 2022. Lavrov stressed Russia will make sure its proposals " aren't wound up in endless discussions, which the West is famous for and which it knows how to do, that there is a result of all these diplomatic efforts."

Separate from these talks is a meeting between NATO and Russia that is expected to be conducted on January 12. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will meet with the NATO-Russia Council to discuss the status of their bloc.

Russia and Ukraine: still ready

 Russia and Ukraine: still ready More than 10 000 Russian soldiers are to be withdrawn from the border regions for Ukraine. But what does that mean? © Sergey Pivovarov / Reuters In mid-December, the Russian army was stationed with its tanks in the Rostov region - for exercise purposes, as it was time. still ready before negotiations with USA and NATO Russia's president maintains the pressure on the West.

This confirmation of Russia-U.S. talks comes days after thousands of the country's troops withdrew from the country's border with Ukraine, where they had been conducting drills reportedly in preparation for an invasion. Tensions between the neighboring countries have been escalating in recent months due to Ukraine's proposed efforts to join NATO. Earlier this month, Russia submitted drafts urging that the organization bar Ukraine and other former Soviet countries from their ranks. As for Ukraine, they and their western allies claim that Russia is planning an invasion into the country to prevent the membership from materializing. However, Russia has denied these claims.

The names of those representing Russia and the U.S. in the upcoming talks have not been released.

Biden, Putin to hold call as Ukraine-Russia tension smolders

  Biden, Putin to hold call as Ukraine-Russia tension smolders WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are set to discuss the Russian troop buildup near Ukraine during their second call in recent weeks amid little progress toward ending the smoldering crisis. Ahead of Thursday's call, the White House indicated that Biden would make clear to Putin that a diplomatic path remains open even as the Russians have moved an estimated 100,000 troops toward Ukraine and Putin has stepped up his demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe.

Washington and its allies have refused to provide such pledges but said they are ready for the talks.

The demands are contained in a proposed Russia-U.S. security treaty and a security agreement between Moscow and NATO.

Lavrov said last week that, in addition to talks with the U.S., Moscow will start separate talks with NATO on the issue, as well as separate negotiations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday confirmed the meeting will take place, calling talks with NATO "important," but said the details of the meeting are "in the works" and the date is still to be confirmed.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and shortly after cast its support behind a separatist rebellion in the country's east. The fighting, which started more than seven years ago, has killed over 14,000 people and devastated Ukraine's industrial heartland, known as the Donbas.

Putin tells Biden new sanctions could rupture ties

  Putin tells Biden new sanctions could rupture ties The US and Russian presidents spoke by phone for almost an hour amid rising tensions over Ukraine.In a phone call late on Thursday, the Russian president said such sanctions would be a "colossal mistake".

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pauses during his and Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca's joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 30, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP, File © Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP, File In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pauses during his and Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca's joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 30, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP, File

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As the U.S. seeks to calm Russia tensions, Europe pushes to be included .
The U.S. and Russia are having key talks next week and the EU's top diplomat is disappointed that the bloc will not be around the table as well. A potential Russian invasion of Ukraine is a top concern for many leaders, given multiple reports of heightened military activity close to the border. In a bid to ease these tensions, top U.S. and Russian officials will be gathering in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday. This meeting will precede wider talks between Russia and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.

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