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U.S.-Russia talks scheduled for January amid Ukraine, security issues

The United States and Russia have agreed to a security sit-down on Jan. 10 as tensions regarding Ukraine continue, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Russia has been building up military troops near the Ukraine border for the last few months, "which U.S. intelligence has assessed as preparation for a full-scale invasion in early 2022," CNN explains. President Biden has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to diffuse the situation, but Putin has demanded NATO guarantee it won't bring Ukraine into the military alliance.

"When we sit down to talk, Russia can put its concerns on the table, and we will put our concerns on the table with Russia's activities as well," said a National Security Council spokesperson on Tuesday. "There will be areas where we can make progress and areas where we will disagree."

The talks will be held in Geneva, per the Journal, and will be most likely led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Russia's Supreme Court shut down Memorial International, "one of the nation's oldest and most revered human rights organizations," reports The New York Times. The group, known for studying and preserving the history of political turmoil in the Soviet Union — including that of those jailed in Stalin-era labor camps — was seen by some as "the last barrier on the way to complete Stalinization of the society and state."

"What we have now is still lite Stalinism," said Sergei Mitrokhin, a Russian opposition politician, while speaking on the radio. "It is a tragedy for our country."

The group said it would appeal the verdict, which was met with protests and chants of "disgrace!" outside the courthouse. "We will appeal, and Memorial will live on with the people," said a lawyer for the organization. "The work will continue."