Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu agreed to meet in Moscow with his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, to discuss the crisis between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine, a British government source said today.
“The Defense Minister is pleased that Russia has accepted the invitation to speak with his counterpart,” said a British ministry source, explaining that “given that the last bilateral meeting took place in London in 2013, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, offered to receive his counterpart in Moscow”.
On the British side, “the minister clearly indicated that he will explore all avenues to achieve stability and a resolution of the Ukrainian crisis”, said the same source, adding that talks on practical details for the meeting are still ongoing.
The announcement of this meeting comes as a certain détente between the West and Moscow that began on Friday, after several weeks of verbal escalation, during talks in Geneva between the heads of Russian and US diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov and Antony Blinken.
The two agreed to continue the “frank” talks next week, prompting UN Secretary-General António Guterres to express hope that the threat of a Russian invasion or military incursion into Ukraine “does not happen”.
Russia is accused by the West of assembling tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine to prepare an attack.
The Kremlin denies any war intentions and asks, in order to have a deceleration of the escalation of tension, that the Western countries guarantee the non-enlargement of NATO to its neighboring countries, in particular Ukraine, and the withdrawal of the Atlantic Alliance from Eastern Europe.
Westerners find these demands unacceptable and threaten Russia with severe sanctions in the event of an attack.
Source: with agencies