The following is an interview by Kawakami Tamami with Senior Research Fellow Abiru Taisuke of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Russia claims that the Zelenskyy administration [of Ukraine] is not fulfilling the ceasefire agreement related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia is also very wary of the movements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces around Ukraine and the Black Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to solve these problems through diplomatic negotiations with the West. However, he came to the conclusion that diplomacy alone will not bring about progress and so he started applying military pressure. Putin has deployed a very large contingent of troops near the border with Ukraine with the aim of bringing the U.S. to the table for dialogue.
During their most recent meeting, U.S. President Joe Biden and President Putin agreed to proceed with working-level talks. At this point, the specific format of the talks is unknown, but from Russia’s viewpoint, it has achieved its minimum goal.
Following the meeting between the two leaders, Russia may withdraw some of its troops from the border area. Depending on how the U.S. responds to the situation in the future, however, Russia may once again mass its troops near the border with Ukraine.
Now that the U.S.-Russia Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has expired, Russia’s greatest security concern is U.S. redeployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles on the European border. This issue will also be the focus of future discussions between the U.S. and Russia.