“I welcome the signs that the other side is ready not only to put forward and promote their own points of view and views,” said Mr. Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, “but also to listen to what we tell them.”
Before he sat down with Mr Putin in Geneva in June, Mr Biden met with the leaders of the Baltic states to reassure them that the United States will continue to fulfill its defense obligations under the NATO alliance.
But Ms Skaisgirite, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, said the United States Care must be taken when dealing with Russia, even though Mr. Putin claims, as he did on Thursday, that Russia is a “peace-loving” state.
“We shouldn’t be naive,” Ms Skaisgirite said. “We need to be very vigilant about what he is doing on the ground and not fall into the trap of Putin’s rhetoric.”
What does Mr. Putin want? Ms. Skaisgirite’s answer is simple: “Restore the Soviet Union.”
Mr Trenin, a Carnegie analyst, said Mr Putin had little interest in full-scale invasions and occupations of other countries, given that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union. But he said securing international commitment to Ukraine as a neutral state, with its more pro-Russian east gaining some autonomy, is a critical priority for the Kremlin.
“President Putin has come to the conclusion that normal diplomatic channels, means, forms and methods are not working,” said Mr Trenin. “The situation is potentially pretty bad.”
Andrew Higgins provided reporting from Bruzgi, Belarus and Julian E. Barnes from Washington.