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Daily review: “Difficult” US-Russia talks on “security guarantees,” Germany arrests hero of war against Russia

Daily review: “Difficult” US-Russia talks on “security guarantees,” Germany arrests hero of war against Russia
Catch up with the latest news from Ukraine in our Daily Review. Our patrons get this review as a newsletter delivered to their inbox; become one of them here.

Past 24 hours in the war zone 

  • JFO report 2 attacks by Russian-led militants, namely near Popasna, Katerynivka.
  • 1 Ukrainian soldier wounded.
  • Illegal armed formations denied OSCE SMM passage near Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk Oblast.

News flash

  • Political advisers to leaders of the Normandy Four countries – Germany and France – Jens Pletner and Emmanuel Bonn will arrive in Ukraine next week. President of France Emmanuel Macron said France and Germany will initiate another meeting in the Normandy format within next few weeks. Last meeting took place via videoconference in November 2020.
  • In interview with CNN, US Secretary of State Blinken stated that one of Putin’s goals is to restore world order that existed under the Soviet Union
  • Donbas militant sentenced to 7 yrs in Zaporizhzhia for trying to set Ukrainian Orthodox church on fire. His mission was to destabilize the situation in the region on religious grounds.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at press conference: “The build-up of forces has not stopped, it continues. There is a gradual strengthening, with a large number of forces with large opportunities. Today the ministers stressed that any further aggression against Ukraine will have significant consequences and a high cost for Russia. Allies continue to support Ukraine, we fully support its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we provide political and practical support.”
  • Russian forces now surround Ukraine on three sides, the NY times demonstrates in its graph. That is, however, not counting Putin’s allies in Transnistria and Belarus, which puts 80% of Ukraine’s border under threat.
  • US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated at a press briefing that Russia might stage a provocation near borders and so, justify new aggression against Ukraine.
  • Biden administration “compiling a list of options for force posture changes in Europe to discuss with Russia at the talks,” namely scaling back US & Russian troops, military exercises in Eastern Europe. New package of military assistance prepared for Ukraine.

Diplomatic week

A series of talks are planned this week, all revolving around Russia’s demands of “security guarantees,” which Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov summed up as “NATO must pack its stuff and return to the 1997 boundaries.”

Ahead of the talks, the worldwide #SayNOtoPutin rally demanded “a clear no to Putin’s imperial policy.”

Ahead of the talks, “…if we’re to make progress, it’s going to be very difficult to do that in the face of continued Russian escalation of its military build-up and rhetoric. But we are committed to following this path and seeing if we can produce results. We’re committed to diplomacy,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has pledged to engage “in good faith and on substance” in talks with Russia next week, but he said the alliance will not compromise on core principles, including the right of nations to decide whether they want to join. He spoke after a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers, saying the meeting had stressed “that any further aggression against Ukraine would have significant consequences and carry a heavy price for Russia.”

On 10 January, US-Russia talks in Geneva concluded after nearly eight hours. There was no breakthrough; deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said: “We were firm … in pushing back on security proposals that are simply non-starters to the United States.” Russia demanded the US-led NATO alliance rule out admitting the former Soviet state or expanding further into what Moscow sees as its back yard.

Wendy Sherman, the lead American diplomat, said the United States was “pushing back on security proposals that are simply non-starters for the United States,” including Russia’s demands that Ukraine not be admitted into NATO, and that the alliance end its security cooperation with Ukraine. “We will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO’s open door policy, which has always been central to the NATO alliance,” Ms. Sherman said on a conference call with reporters. “We will not forgo bilateral cooperation with sovereign states that wish to work with the United States. And we will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, about Europe without Europe, or about NATO without NATO,” NYT reported.

Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, speaking at a press conference after the talks, stated that progress in further talks is contingent on the fulfillment of Russia’s three demands: legal guarantees that NATO will not expand eastward, guarantees that weapons capable of strikes on Russia will not be placed on Russia’s borders, and the withdrawal of NATO to its pre-1997 borders. Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia would draw conclusions on further prospects for negotiations on the results of the next few days – meetings with NATO on January 12 and the OSCE Permanent Council on January 13.

Meeting of Ukraine-NATO commission

Olga Stefanishyna, vice-PM for European and Euroatlantic integration, who took part in the meeting, tweeted afterward that she “stressed that a comprehensive deterrence package should be on the table, including painful sanctions.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated afterward that the meeting was “a timely opportunity to exchange assessments on the situation and to coordinate ahead of diplomatic engagements with Russia.”

How NATO can help Ukraine

There are four ways NATO can help Ukraine resist Russian aggression. Two of them will actually work.

Four ways NATO can help Ukraine resist Russian aggression

Lesson in diplomacy from Polish ex-Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski

Sikorski Russia

Kazakstan protests

The government of Kazakhstan released prisoners to exploit them for pogroms, burning of buildings, and attacks on police, founder Vladimir Osechkin reports, referring to a letter that his sources obtained from the Russian FSB. This (reportedly) premeditated violence was one of the reasons for the introduction of Russian-led CSTO troops to Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan government used convicts for pogroms preceding Russian-led intervention, founder says

The military mission by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), unofficially known as “Russian NATO,” to Kazakhstan will be headed by Russian General Andrei Serdyukov. Serdyukov is known for having led the operation to occupy Crimea in 2014 and leading the Russian military intervention in Syria in 2019.

Russian general who led Crimea occupation charged with CSTO military mission in Kazakhstan

Tatar, Bashkir, Erzya and other indigenous leaders in Russia expressed solidarity with the people of Kazakhstan and called on their compatriots not to participate in the ongoing Kazakhstan crackdown, held with the participation of troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Indigenous leaders call on nations in Russia to boycott crackdown on protesters in Kazakhstan

There is little doubt that the recent events will almost certainly bring Kazakhstan’s government even closer to Moscow. The Kremlin will also use them in talks with the United States and NATO in order to divide the spheres of influence in Europe.

Not yet occupation, but already intervention. Consequences of Russian troops entering Kazakhstan

Germany under fire over shock arrest of ‘hero general’ wanted by Russia

GERMANY’S commitment to stand against Russian aggression was once more called into question last night following the arrest of a former senior Georgian army general.

Ukrainian Court Seizes Property Of Ex-President Poroshenko Following Treason Accusations

A court in Ukraine has frozen property owned by former President Petro Poroshenko as part of a formal investigation into alleged high treason by the former head of state, which he denies.

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