Russia remains open but ‘not optimistic’ over Ukraine talks

Russia has said it is willing to continue talks with the US over European security, but is not optimistic about their prospects after Washington and Nato allies again rejected a key part of the Kremlin’s proposed new order for post-cold war security.

Tensions have soared in recent weeks as Russia massed more than 100,000 soldiers and heavy weapons at its border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.

“We continue to see, including in the last 24 hours, more accumulation of credible combat forces arrayed by the Russians in, again, the western part of their country, and in Belarus,” said John Kirby, the defence department spokesman, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the US is accelerating arms supplies to Ukraine. “We are just at the beginning of a whole new package of assistance material,” Kirby said. “There’s been three shipments. More that will be coming.”

Asked about the Ukrainian request for air defence missile systems, Kirby noted that a US air and missile defence assessment team had been in Ukraine recently to discuss the country’s needs.

Kirby added: “I think you can understand why we would want to be careful about advertising publicly the kinds of capabilities that we’ve given to Ukraine, given the size and the scale and the capabilities that are arrayed against them on the other side of their border.”



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