On December 27, 2021, American and Russian officials agreed to convene on January 10, to discuss security issues as tensions between Ukraine and Russia near the boiling point.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed the meeting on December 28. It will take place before a second meeting between Russian and NATO representatives on January 12.
The U.S. and other European countries will hold a third meeting with Russian emissaries on January 13, according to a Reuters report.
So far, neither the U.S. nor Russia have formally announced which officials will attend these meetings.
In recent weeks, Russia has maintained tens of thousands of troops along its border with Ukraine, which has sparked fears in Washington about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On a previous occasion, President Joe Biden said that sending U.S. troops to defend Ukraine is “not on the table.” Instead, the U.S. and its allies have threatened to impose heavy sanctions on Russia should it follow through with military action in Ukraine.
“We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article 5, it’s a sacred obligation,” Biden previously stated. “That obligation does not extend… to Ukraine. But it would depend upon what rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well. But the idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not… in the cards right now. What will happen is there will be severe consequences.”
Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s Ukraine policy, arguing that Biden has taken a soft approach in dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“‘Speak loudly and carry a small stick’ is a weak game plan,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) previously told the Daily Caller. “Biden has given Putin the upper hand at almost every turn: letting Russia dictate reciprocal diplomatic representation, waiving sanctions on Nord Stream 2, and turning the page from Paul Whelan and Alexei Navalny’s unjust imprisonment.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also criticized the Biden administration for the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine. The Texas Senator argued that Democrats’ tough stances on Russia have cooled since Donald Trump exited the presidency.