WASHINGTON ―According to an Al Jazeera report, US officials have suggested the potential of limiting military maneuvers and missile installations in Eastern Europe if Russia responds positively ahead of negotiations on rising tensions as Russian soldiers envelop Ukraine.
On Monday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Sergey Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, in the first of three bilateral discussions scheduled for this week. Following that will be NATO discussions with Russia, followed by talks with Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which are expected to include discussion of the American ideas.
Sherman emphasized that the discussions were only preliminary and not in-depth. She also reaffirmed the Biden administration’s pledge that no decisions will be taken in the discussions unless Ukraine and NATO were present.
According to Sherman, the US made it clear to Russia on Monday that it is “open to discussing certain missile systems,” similar to the expired Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Five years after accusing Russia of violating the treaty with the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, the Trump administration pulled from it in 2019.
Unrestricted by INF, the US Army launched its Lockheed-made Precision Strike Missile to a range of more than 499 kilometers in October.
Russia has already expressed alarm about the United States Army’s 56th Artillery Command’s reactivation in Germany, which was inhibited in 1991 after the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Russia is demanding guarantees that neither party will install medium or shorter-range missiles close to other’s territory ahead of the negotiations.
The treaty’s lapse, due to Russian violations, gives the US useful new choices to discourage China, according to Tom Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and restoring it would be “a fantastically bad idea.”
Meanwhile, US officials have stated that the US will not diminish its troop presence in Eastern Europe, as Russia has requested. As per a story in Defense News, Sherman said the US side was “unequivocal” in its rejection of Russia’s demand that NATO not move eastward, and she reaffirmed that America has ruled out removing US soldiers and weaponry from Eastern Europe.
While the Biden office has discussed the idea of gradual modifications in US troop posture in Europe, it has also warned Russia with heavy punishment if it invades Ukraine.