US officials begin their negotiations with Russia with “a sense of realism, not optimism,” as White House officials have asked some reporters to suspend reporting. Reporters were told they should wait for the White House to confirm reports of the talks before reporting, as information from Russia is part of the country’s “game plan” to try to gain advantage. U.S. officials have also shown reluctance for the talks to be meaningful, as America hopes this will be one of the first stepping stones for a short-term de-escalation.
France 24 White House correspondent Kethevane Gorjestani provided an update on the talks and said some journalists had been ordered to suspend their reporting so as not to play Russia’s game.
She explained: “The Americans are very careful in these talks.
“They are also cautious about messages coming from Moscow, administration officials have repeatedly warned journalists to be very careful not to fall into the trap of some of the messages that will come from Moscow.
“To say that basically the Russians are their playbook, that’s how they’re going to play it.
READ MORE: Truss said to act quickly and respond to the threat of Brexit
“They are going to say that the Americans have accepted certain things and the Americans say that they do not believe anything that comes from Moscow.
“We will tell you what we have agreed on if there is a breakthrough, but be very careful about the reports that emerge from these talks.”
Journalists were told on January 8 by a White House official that “there will be no firm commitment made in these talks.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has cast cold water on any breakthrough in the talks in Ukraine and said people should not expect a major deal.
The United States and Russia have gathered around the table in an attempt to defuse the situation as Russia approaches negotiations with several key demands.
Russia wants a binding deal that prevents NATO from expanding east and withdraws US arms and troops from parts of Europe.
Russia also wants NATO to refuse membership of Ukraine and other former Soviet states.
Mr Blinken said: “None of these are on the table.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met in Geneva to discuss the demands after hosting a working dinner on Sunday evening.
Discussions ended after more than seven hours.