Engagement

After Secretary of State John Kerry’s seemingly less than successful trip to Sochi last week for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, a follow-up meeting in Moscow with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was scheduled this week.

However, no progress was reportedly made during Nuland’s visit to Moscow.

The US appears to be looking for other ways to engage Russia as discussions also took place in Moscow this week over the crisis in Syria as well:

“The United States looks forward to working with Russia and the international community in the coming months on achieving a genuine, sustainable political transition as necessary to address the crisis and help defeat ‎the extremist threat.”

Meanwhile, the Kremlin tried to spin the visit this way:

Voice of America asked:

For many observers, the increased activity of the United States in dealing with Moscow was unexpected. What is the purpose behind the intensification of contacts?

Stanislav Belkovsky noted that the recent flurry of contact between the two parties “means that the West has actually surrendered to recent statements made by the Russian president” about his readiness of use nuclear weapons.

“All of these negotiations are a clear consequence of the activation of this policy.”

“Vladimir Putin has managed to ensure that the Russian Federation is now considered to be a backwater [Belkovsky uses the phrase «медвежьим углом мира»], and is talking to her accordingly.”

“Whether or not this is a success for Russia is the main question.  Because actually if you smell bad, it is better to move away from you, than to have some kind of meaningful discussion with you.”

However, this situation will not last long, says Belkovsky.

“Russia’s financial and technological dependence on the Western world is very high… However, the West has decided to say to the Russian leadership: guys, do whatever you want, but when you finally return, then you will be crawling on your knees.”

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