The four-hour meeting between the NATO and Russian officials on Monday was inconclusive, even though the United States and its allies hoped to hold off the Russian invasion of Ukraine and soothe tensions between Russia and the West, per The New York Times.
- “Our differences will not be easy to bridge,” the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg said after the talks at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels.
- “We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine and the implications for European security. There are significant differences between NATO allies and Russia on these issues,” Stoltenberg said, per CBS News.
Per The New York Times, Stoltenberg said that NATO allies urged Russia to “immediately de-escalate the situation in Ukraine,” where Russia has around 100,000 troops near the borders but Russian representatives did not commit to pulling back troops.
Russia demanded that NATO not expand to include Ukraine or Georgia, both of which are former Soviet republics, and remove all allied troops bordering Russia, according to Reuters.
At a press conference, Alexander V. Grushko, a Russian deputy foreign minister, said: “I want to say that the discussion was rather honest, direct, deep and comprehensive. But at the same time it showed a great amount of divergence on fundamental questions.”