Russia’s deputy foreign minister is not excluding deploying military infrastructure to Cuba and Venezuela if tension with the United States remains high.
Background: Russian officials have engaged in several rounds of talks with Western officials regarding the country’s military buildup on the border with Ukraine. So far, little progress has been reached during the negotiations and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has hinted Russia will halt talks altogether.
“I see no reason to sit down in the coming days, to gather again and start these same discussions,” he said.
In comments to reporters, Ryabkov indicated relations between Russia and the U.S. could end up in a situation similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Russia is demanding changes to Western security arrangements linked to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It has expressed alarm at the prospect that former Soviet republics such as Ukraine could join NATO and has called for the alliance to halt its eastern expansion, demands that Western officials have rejected. (per The Wall Street Journal)
What Happened: On Thursday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a 57-country coalition that helped to bring peace during the Cold War, discussed the Ukraine situation however no agreement was reached.
Russia has said its next actions, and whether they deploy their military will be dependant on the “actions of our American colleagues.”
“I don’t want to confirm anything, I will not rule out anything…Depends on the actions of our American colleagues,” Ryabkov said in an interview Thursday in Moscow.
What Comes Next: Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, appeared to leave the door open to further talks.
“We still hope that the promises made in Geneva and Brussels will be kept, this is the promise to put U.S. and NATO proposals on paper,” he said.
Michael Carpenter, the U.S.’s representative to the OSCE, told reporters the United States has demonstrated that it is approaching talks “very seriously.”
“There’s ample opportunity to listen honestly to the concerns of all states but we are not going to renegotiate core principles,” he said. “Look, if the Russians walk away from these talks, it will be clear that they were never serious about diplomacy in the first place.”