Estonia's NATO ambassador: Nothing extraordinary will be decided this week

Jüri Luik.
Jüri Luik. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The meetings between Russia, the United States and NATO members are part of a larger process and there is no reason to expect major breakthroughs, Estonia's Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik (Isamaa) said on Monday.

The U.S. and Russia will hold talks on nuclear arms control and Ukraine on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Luik, a former minister of defense, told the radio show "Välistund" these meetings are the start of a process, not the end.

"It will also become clear if Russia is taking this process seriously and if it is willing to withdraw its troops from around Ukraine," he said. "Therefore, this is certainly not a week where something extraordinary will be decided. There will be some kind of hearing, a dialogue, and separately the Russia-NATO council will meet on January 12, it is primarily a forum for dialogue and negotiation," said Luik.

The ambassador said the United States has already made its position clear.

"The USA has made it clear that if there is a conflict, if Russia further invades Ukraine, the USA will bring its troops to Eastern Europe, in addition to economic sanctions and political steps," Luik said.

Washington has promised to brief allies about the discussions on Monday.

"The USA has made it clear that no issue involving the allies will be discussed without the allies, and the USA has also promised to brief the allies so that they are aware of what was discussed in Geneva," Luik said.

On Wednesday, representatives from Moscow and NATO will meet in Brussels for the NATO-Russia Council and Russia will participate in the OSCE council meeting on January 13.

In recent months, Russia has massed approximately 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border, leading some experts to believe a further invasion is likely early this year.

Additionally, last month, Russia issued a series of demands to the U.S. that NATO should roll back its presence on its Eastern flank, including in the Baltics, and block Georgia or Ukraine from joining the alliance in the future.

MEP Urmas Paet (Reform) on Monday also ruled out any clear "black and white" results coming from the upcoming meetings.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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