Against that backdrop, bilateral talks in Geneva to start on January 9, 2022 seemed off to a promising start. The Kremlin clearly thought so. Then Biden changed his mind. The key issue of offensive missiles on Russia's borders fell off the table.
Glimmer of Hope on Dec. 30
The day after the Dec. 30 Biden-Putin conversation, the Kremlin published this readout:
The conversation focused on the implementation of the agreement to launch negotiations on providing Russia with legally binding security guarantees, reached during the December 7 [Putin-Biden] videoconference to launch negotiations … Vladimir Putin … stressed that the negotiations needed to produce solid legally binding guarantees ruling out NATO's eastward expansion and the deployment of weapons that threaten Russia in the immediate vicinity of its borders. …
It was confirmed that the negotiations would take place first in Geneva on January 9–10 … The presidents agreed to personally supervise these negotiating tracks, especially bilateral, with a focus on reaching results quickly.
In this context, Joseph Biden emphasized that Russia and the US shared a special responsibility for ensuring stability in Europe and the whole world, and that Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine. … [Emphasis added.]
Hopes Dashed on Feb. 12