Russia has demanded binding promises that NATO will not further expand eastward and that the US will remove troops and weapons from Eastern Europe in exchange for reducing its expanded troop presence on the Ukrainian border.

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.
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. (Reuters Archive)

Russia has ruled out any concession at talks with the United States 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 on Sunday 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 European Union are based.

"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."

The high-level discussions start a week of diplomacy in which Russia will meet with NATO and the Organization 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 United States, 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 Monday, Sherman is now due to have a working dinner with Ryabkov on Sunday evening, said a State Department spokesperson.

READ MORE: Russia, Ukraine point fingers as ceasefire talks collapse

'Massive' retaliation

In two phone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Joe Biden has warned of severe consequences if Russia invades Ukraine.

Europeans have showed solidarity, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visiting the frontline in Ukraine, although some nations are expected to hesitate at the strongest measures.

Russia insists it was deceived after the Cold War and understood that NATO would not expand.

Instead, the US-led alliance accepted most of the former Warsaw Pact nations and the three Baltic nations that were under Soviet rule.

Russia has put intense pressure on neighbouring Ukraine since 2014 after a revolution overthrew a government that had sided with the Kremlin against moving closer to Europe.

Russia seized the Crimean peninsula and backs an insurgency in eastern Ukraine in which more than 13,000 people have died.

At a time when Russia is also intervening to shore up allies facing popular uprisings in Belarus and Kazakhstan, Moscow has insisted it wants concrete progress in talks with Washington.

Putin's foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov warned after the call with Biden that the United States would make a "colossal mistake" if it went ahead with sanctions.

READ MORE: Russia issues tough security demands for US, NATO amid Ukraine tensions

Source: TRTWorld and agencies