President Biden faces a dilemma as the United States prepares for European security negotiations with Moscow amid the threat of a new Ukraine invasion: How much should Washington accommodate Russian President Vladimir Putin — and would any plausible concessions be enough for him to stand down?
Those questions will be top of mind for U.S. officials and their European allies, who are in the early stages of organizing talks with the Russians on the myriad complaints Putin has made about Ukraine, NATO and a European security environment he says is overly threatening to Moscow.
Putin’s demands, and whether to make any concessions, are already testing the unity of the 30-country NATO alliance.
“It all comes down to where Putin’s head is and what he feels is good enough to take back to the Kremlin. There is no one on this planet other than Putin who knows the answer to that question,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Russia analyst at the Center for a New American Security. “So, the point is, we try. We really try to go through this diplomatic process. We put in a good-faith effort.”
“I don’t see us giving them anything that would suffice relative to their demands, and what troubles me is they know that,” said Michael Kofman, a Russian military analyst at the Virginia-based research group CNA. “They also can’t just back down from this level of crisis without tangible gains.”
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