Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France are holding talks Wednesday in Paris amid tensions at the Russia-Ukraine border.
Western nations have expressed concern about the deployment of more than 100,000 Russian troops in the area and the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia denies it has such plans and has sought guarantees that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will not expand in Russia’s direction.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that he hopes from the Paris talks “a good, open conversation will take place with the maximum possible result.”
Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tweeted Wednesday that he hopes for a “constructive dialogue” in Ukraine’s interests.
The meeting follows several rounds of talks last week involving Russia, the United States, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Russia is awaiting written responses to some of its demands. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told lawmakers Wednesday that Russia would take “necessary retaliatory measures” if the West continues what he called an “aggressive course.”
Wednesday’s talks come as Russia said it was sending more troops and equipment to Belarus as those two countries prepare to hold military drills next month.
Peskov also said applying sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin would be counterproductive.
“Politically, it’s not painful, it’s destructive,” he told reporters Wednesday.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Russia would face “severe consequences” if it invades Ukraine, including economic sanctions that could include Putin himself.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.