Sherman met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Monday in the first of three sets of bilateral talks slated for this week. She told reporters that the session was “frank and forthright” but that it is too soon to say whether the Kremlin was serious about diplomacy.
“I don’t think we know the answer to that,” Sherman said when asked if the US got an indication that Russia is prepared to de-escalate on the Ukrainian border. “We will see whether in fact Russia understands that the best way to pursue diplomacy is for them to reduce those tensions and to de-escalate.”
The talks, which wrapped up Monday after more than seven hours in Geneva, Switzerland, follow months of tension near the Ukraine-Russia border, where more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have massed.
Ryabkov told reporters after the meeting that despite American concerns about the Russian troop buildup along the Ukrainian border, Moscow had no intention of launching military action.
“We explained to our colleagues that we have no plans to attack,” he said. “All the combat trainings of troops are carried out within our national territory, and there is no reason to fear any escalation scenario in this regard.”