Some select comments from @DeputySecState Sherman, speaking now after NATO-Russia talks. She says Russia's a powerful country and "the fact that they feel threatened by Ukraine — a smaller and still developing democracy — is hard to understand quite frankly."
Russia, says Sherman, made no commitment to de-escalation during today's meeting. Nor was there a statement there would not be.
Sherman reiterated several Russian demands are non-starters for NATO and allies, such as rolling back NATO to 1997 levels, taking membership off the table for Ukraine, Georgia, etc. But room for negotiations on things like arms control, transparency, and so on.
What's important, Sherman says, is Russians were not ready to commit to discussions @jensstoltenberg laid out. "Everyone will go back to their govts now to discuss next steps."
tl;dr — heightened tension around Ukraine remain. Troops continue to mass, threat of new attack remains
Sherman: "It's very hard to have dialogue, to have diplomacy that is conducive to success when in fact you have 100,000 troops [near the Ukrainian border]... It makes that quite difficult."
Sherman, speaking about unity among NATO's members, says the Russian delegation sat through nearly four hours of discussion where 30 nations spoke, "which is not an easy thing to do. I'm glad they did it."

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More from @ChristopherJM

14 Jan
NEW: A US official tells me, "The United States is concerned that the Russian Government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives."
"As part of its plans, Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine."
US official continued: "The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea."
Read 9 tweets
14 Jan
NEWS IN KYIV: Several Ukrainian government websites down due to a major a cyberattack. Below is the @MFA_Ukraine website now. It reads in part: "Ukrainians!...All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect worse." Sites of MOD and Education ministry also down. Image
Ukraine MFA tells me, “It’s too early to draw conclusions. We are assessing the damage caused by the attack.”
From @OlegNikolenko_, MFA spokesperson: Image
Read 7 tweets
7 Dec 21
Jake Sullivan briefing press now echoes what was in the White House readout following Biden-Putin call. Sullivan says their conversation was "direct and straight-forward and "there was no finger-wagging."
After the call, Biden spoke with leaders in France, Germany, Italy, and the UK to brief them on the Putin call. Biden to speak with Zelensky on Thursday, Sullivan says. Zelensky's office told me earlier they'd hoped to speak to Biden today.
Sullivan, if Russia does invade Ukraine again, says NATO members will get more help from US, which already has US military service members in Europe, Baltic countries. Additional security capabilities on the table for them. But doesn't say what, if anything, US would give Ukraine
Read 8 tweets
29 Nov 21
Ukrainian Foreign Minister @DmytroKuleba spoke to Western reporters this morning. Here's what he had to say:

Russia refuses to explain its military movements in a transparent manner. Troops have been largely present since spring 2021 but there have been new, worrying movements.
Kuleba said Zelensky is committed to a diplomatic solution, has no plans to take the Donbas back by force, and is ready to meet anytime with the Normandy 4 leaders (France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia). "Unfortunately, Putin does not accept invitations and does not want to talk."
Kuleba: What we see instead is not only military buildup along our borders but an intensifying disinformation campaign and escalation in the Donbas. Intel shows a fresh Russian attack would likely include activities in the Black Sea.
Read 7 tweets
26 Nov 21
👀 Thread on Zelensky’s press conference in which he makes some explosive allegations about a Russia-backed coup in the works with operatives trying to enlist Ukrainian oligarch and Donetsk native Rinat Akhmetov. He claims he has tapes…
Here’s a translation of Zelensky’s stunning words today at a carefully orchestrated press event in Kyiv, via @ukrpravda_news. (Zelensky’s team hand-picked and limited media attendance, denying opportunities for credentials to many journalists.)…
If Ze has tapes that can be authenticated, it would be great to hear them. But this has a tone of the president taking an offensive shot in a battle against Ukraine’s richest oligarch that has been brewing for a while. (Is Ze vs Akhmetov the new Poro vs Kolomoisky?)
Read 10 tweets
23 Nov 21
A first take on the breaking news. More to come.

A Charlottesville Jury Ordered White Nationalists To Pay $25 Million To Victims Of The "Unite The Right" Rally… via @BuzzFeedNews
Roberta Kaplan, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said after the verdict that her team plans to refile the federal conspiracy claims against the defendants. She believes the jury was eager to get home before Thanksgiving & new jury would rule in plaintiffs' favor on fed charges
“We think the facts were established. We think that the finding of liability in count 3 showed a conspiracy,” she told reporters outside the courthouse. Kaplan let out a shout of “Yes!” as she stepped into her black SUV.…
Read 8 tweets

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