US and Russian officials will meet in Geneva on Monday for critical talks about rising tensions around Ukraine.
Concerns have been rising in the US and Europe about Russia’s military build-up near its border with Ukraine.
Russia is pushing for a deal to ensure Ukraine cannot join the NATO military alliance.
However, the US said it “would not make any firm commitments” during the talks and only security issues would be discussed.
An independent Russian political analyst, Dmitry Oreshkin, said that President Putin could not accept Ukraine or Georgia joining NATO.
“It could have made peace with the Baltic states as a lost destination, part of NATO, etc., but has decided to hang on to the end in Ukraine.”
“And the only way to ensure his tough political authority over Ukraine is to create tension at the border,” he added.
Troops remain on high alert
Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, troops remain on high alert, amid fears of a Russian invasion.
Last week, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, visited the Donbass region.
It was the EU foreign policy chief’s first trip there since the conflict broke out in 2014.
Washington and Moscow have excluded Brussels from diplomatic talks aimed at de-escalating the situation on the Ukraine-Russia border.
Borrell made no secret of his irritation on Wednesday during his visit to the region.
“In this dialogue, there are not only two actors. Not just the United States and Russia. If you want to talk about security in Europe, Europe has to be part of the table,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed by the EU Ambassador to the UK, João Vale de Almeida, who issued a warning to Russia.
“The European Union and member states have a very common position of power,” he said.
“America is united, NATO allies are together and we say very clearly, and these are very clear words, that there will be huge consequences and huge costs if Russia enters Ukraine by military action.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to assuage concerns by telling ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday: “We’ve been very clear with Russia, time and time again, that we’re not going to do or commit to anything about Europe without Europe. So, everything that supports Europe’s security interests will be done in full coordination with them, with Europe at the table.
However, the EU was not the only party left behind from the talks taking place in Geneva, nor was Ukraine invited.
While the United States has made clear that it will not intervene militarily if Russia attacks, Ukraine is eager to show in Kiev that it will stand united and resist any kind of attack.
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