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NATO Collectively Preparing for Every Eventuality With Russia if Diplomacy Fails, Sherman Says

© JOHN THYSUS Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman addresses a press conference following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 12, 2022.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman addresses a press conference following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on January 12, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.01.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – NATO members are collectively preparing for every eventuality with Russia if it walks away from the proposed diplomacy path in relations with the alliance and Ukraine, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday.
“If Russia walks away, however, it will be quite apparent they were never serious about pursuing diplomacy at all. That is why collectively we are preparing forever for every eventuality,” Sherman said during a press briefing.
The dialogue of the NATO-Russia Council began on Wednesday and Russia had the opportunity to hear what the alliance's members other than the United States have to say, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told journalists.

"Clearly, we began dialogue today," Sherman said.

It is also important that at the end of today's meeting Russia did not reject the idea of having more discussions with NATO, she added.

"I am glad Russia was at the NATO summit and heard what other 30 states had to say," she added.
According to the US diplomat, the meeting ended with a "sober challenge" from the alliance to Moscow to de-escalate amid growing tensions over Ukraine.

"Today's meeting lasted nearly four hours. It ended with a sober challenge from the NATO allies to Russia...That challenge is to respond to the offers extended by the Secretary General of NATO, by the Polish chairman and office of the OSCE, by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and by the President of the United States, to deescalate tensions, choose the path of diplomacy," Sherman told a press briefing.

Sherman noted that during the meeting Russia did not make any commitment to de-escalate nor did it state that it would not do so.
The United States and allies at a NATO-Russia Council meeting on Wednesday were united that certain core Russian proposals on European security are simply nonstarters, Sherman went on to say.

"The United States and our NATO allies were united in our responses to Deputy Foreign Minister [Alexander] Grushko and Deputy Minister of Defence [Alexander] Fomin in their comments, including when it comes to certain core Russian proposals, that are simply nonstarters," Sherman told a press briefing.
During the meeting, NATO allies offered their views on the areas where the alliance and Russia could make progress together to strengthen security for all and for the world, including reciprocal actions focused on risk reduction and transparency, communication and arms control, the US Deputy Secretary of State said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed hope that the NATO-Russia Council could convene again soon to have "deeper discussions" on areas of interest where making progress is possible, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday.

On Nord Stream 2 Project

It is very difficult to imagine the Nord Stream 2 pipeline becoming operational if Russia advances on Ukraine, Sherman told journalists on Wednesday.

"The Germans federal network agency has suspended certification, and Secretary [Antony] Blinken has said, which underscores what Undersecretary [Victoria] Nuland said to quote the secretary from our perspective, it's very hard to see gas flowing through the pipeline for it to become operational. If Russia renews its aggression on Ukraine," she said.

She noted that Washington has long been clear about the project.

"It is the Russian geopolitical project that undermines energy security and national security," she said.

In December, media reported that the United States is pressing Germany to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Russia invade Ukraine. However, the Kremlin said the pipeline was not mentioned during the virtual meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden in late 2021.

Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper and Wintershall. The project is designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The pipeline was completed in September and is now undergoing certification in Germany, which has been stalled by the Federal Network Agency's demand to create a German subsidiary and then file a separate bid.
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