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Russia rules out any concession at Ukraine, security talks with US

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Russia has inflicted intense pressure on neighbouring Ukraine since 2014 after a revolution overthrew a government that had sided with the Kremlin. AFP

Russia rules out any concession at Ukraine, security talks with US

Russia on January 9 ruled out any concession at talks with the US on soaring tensions over Ukraine as Moscow seeks a wide-ranging new security arrangement with the West but faces strong pressure to pull back troops.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies ahead of his talks in Geneva the Kremlin was also "disappointed" with signals coming from both Washington and Brussels, where NATO and the EU are based.

The high-level discussions start a week of diplomacy in which Russia will meet with NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with the US trying to assure European allies they will not be sidelined.

Russia since late last year has amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border and demanded guarantees that NATO will not expand further eastward.

The Kremlin is insisting NATO must never grant membership to ex-Soviet Ukraine, which is pushing to join.

The US, to be represented by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, agreed to talks even though it made plain that many of Moscow's proposals are non-starters.

Originally scheduled to start on January 10, Sherman is now due to have a working dinner with Ryabkov on the evening of January 9, a Department of State spokesperson said.

"We will not agree to any concession. That is completely excluded," Ryabkov said. "We are disappointed with the signals coming in the last few days from Washington but also from Brussels."

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