U.S. and Russia Agree to Talks Amid Growing Tensions Over Ukraine. “The threat of a possible invasion of Ukraine is critical leverage for Moscow, and Russian officials say the Jan. 10 talks need to focus on their proposed ‘treaty’ that demands that NATO never offer membership to Ukraine or place its forces or weapons in former Soviet states.”
There’s also this reminder from Andrew Michta at 1945:
If the demands to negotiate have a larger aim it is to divide the alliance. Most importantly, the idea that Russia would need a written treaty guarantee to forestall Ukraine or Georgia’s accession to NATO is absurd. Putin knows that so long as he occupies Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine and Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, the countries have no chance of making it into NATO, for a vote to enlarge the alliance would mean in effect a vote to go to war with Russia. Moscow’s demand that the effective status quo be confirmed by treaty is thus nothing short of an attempt to humiliate the West.
Nobody wants to go to war over Ukraine, nor should we. But nobody should underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up, either.
h/t Stephen Green