Russia and NATO can’t agree on how to talk about Ukraine. It was the first meeting between NATO and Russia’s Council since 2019. NATO’s chief said there were still big differences between the two countries, but he hoped that Russia would be open to more talks after the meeting.

As NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, it will be hard to get everyone to agree on everything. Russia is putting more pressure on the West to accept its demands for sweeping security guarantees, and the alliance isn’t going to give in.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko also said there were “a lot of differences on important issues.”

Grushko said that if things get worse, it could have “the most unpredictable and dangerous consequences for European security.”

At the meeting, there were 30 representatives from North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and a Russian delegation. The meeting came two days after a meeting between the United States and Russia in Geneva failed to reach a deal.

Many, many troops have been stationed around Ukraine. Russia wants big changes in European security arrangements, and they want them to happen right away! Moscow wants NATO to give a legally binding promise that it won’t allow Ukraine and Georgia, two former Soviet states that Moscow thinks are part of its control, to join the group. Nato has said that Ukraine and Georgia will eventually join the alliance, but it doesn’t want to give them an easy way into the alliance right now, as it has said since 2008.

Another thing Russia wants the Allied Forces to do is cut back on its military activities in countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact. These countries are now part of the Allied Forces.

NATO allies have said that these demands are not good enough. There were no “starters” at the talks, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said, and allies were against them.

Ms. Sherman told reporters that after the nearly four-hour meeting, “We will not close NATO’s doors.” We will not close them. ”

NATO wants Russia to meet again to talk about more limited measures that allies think will make it feel more secure. In addition, Mr. Stoltenberg said that those measures included ways to make military exercises more transparent, avoid dangerous accidents, reduce space and cyber threats, and talk about how to keep arms.

The Russian delegation didn’t say whether or not it was going to be positive or negative right away, but it said it would take the proposal back to Moscow, officials said.

NATO allies want Russia to take its troops out of the area around Ukraine and leave.

He said, “There is a real chance that there could be another war in Europe again.” The Kremlin has said that it is free to move its troops wherever it wants in its own country.

The Biden administration, on the other hand, backed a bill on Wednesday that would put Russian leaders, banks, and businesses under mandatory sanctions if Moscow attacks or invades more of Ukraine.

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, is behind the bill. It would put sanctions on Russia’s military and political leaders, including Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. It would give Ukraine $500 million more in security aid in the event of a Russian invasion, and it would ask the Defense and State Departments to send weapons and military equipment to Ukraine as soon as possible.

It would also be able to put sanctions on companies that provide financial messaging services in Russia, like SWIFT, the world’s banking transaction system. It would also stop transactions on Russian government debt. Also, the administration would be told to look back at its decision not to put sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which sends Russian natural gas to Germany. This would happen in May.

This is what Ms. Sherman said to reporters Wednesday in Brussels: “We have made it clear, and we told the Russians directly again today that if Russia invades Ukraine again, there will be a lot of costs and consequences that go far beyond what they faced in 2014.”

Moscow has tried for a long time to stop Ukraine from joining NATO and the EU. Pro-Russian President Petro Poroshenko was ousted by street protests in Ukraine in 2014. After that, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to seize Crimea and take over territory in Ukraine’s east with a covert military intervention.

NATO allies have given Ukraine military weapons, equipment, and training, which led Russia to say that the alliance was trying to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russian proxy state. This is what happened.