US suggests open to limit military exercises and missile deployment in talks with Russia
The United States and its allies are ready to discuss with Russia in talks on Ukraine the possibility of each side restricting military exercises and the deployment of missiles in the region, a senior US administration official said on Saturday.
With the crucial talks set to begin on Monday in Geneva, a senior Biden administration official said the US was unwilling to discuss the limits of the deployment of US troops or the position of US forces in the countries. of the NATO region.
President Joe Biden has warned that Russia will face serious economic consequences if Russian President Vladimir Putin launches an invasion of Ukraine. U.S. officials on Saturday offered more details on the harsh sanctions that could be imposed.
A restriction, described by a source familiar with the plan, could target critical Russian industrial sectors, such as defense and civil aviation, and would invariably affect Russia’s high-tech ambitions, such as intelligence. artificial, quantum computing or even consumer electronics.
Fear of invasion
The Geneva talks, which will follow other sessions next week in Brussels and Vienna, are aimed at averting a crisis. Putin has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.
It is unclear whether the US and its European allies can advance talks with Moscow. Putin wants to end NATO’s eastward expansion and security guarantees, which the United States says are unacceptable.
But a senior U.S. official, briefing reporters ahead of the talks, said some areas present opportunities for common ground.
“Any discussion on these overlapping areas where we could move forward should be reciprocal,” the official said. “The two sides should make essentially the same commitment.”
Russia says it feels threatened by the prospect of the United States deploying offensive missile systems to Ukraine, although Biden has assured Putin that he has no intention of doing so.
“So this is an area where we can reach an agreement if Russia is willing to make a reciprocal commitment,” the official said.
The United States is considering sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine
The United States is also willing to discuss restrictions on both sides in military exercises, the official said.
“We are ready to explore the possibility of reciprocal restrictions on the size and scope of these exercises, including strategic bombers close to each other’s territory as well as ground exercises.”
The official said Washington is open to a broader discussion on missile deployment in the region. In 2019, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 1987 US-Russia High Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, accusing Moscow of violating the agreement.
A senior Biden administration official said the sanctions being explored in the event of a Russian invasion would not start low and would harden over time.
“Instead, we would take a ‘start high, stay high’ approach in which, in coordination with our allies and partners, we would immediately impose serious and overwhelming costs on Russia’s economy, including its system. financial sector and sectors considered critical to the Russian economy. Kremlin, “the official said.
The United States has been discussing with trade partners and partners in Europe and Asia a number of trade restrictions under consideration, the source familiar with the planning said.
No decision has yet been made, but the restrictions under consideration could affect U.S. products exported to Russia and certain foreign-made products subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
Russia could join the more restrictive group of countries for export control, along with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. These actions could also restrict the export of foreign-made products if they contain more than a specified percentage of U.S. content.
In addition, the exercise of U.S. jurisdiction, through the direct foreign product rule used for the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, on exports to Russia of all designed microelectronics is being considered. with American software or technology or produced with American equipment.