Senior diplomats from Russia and the United States are due to meet in Switzerland on Friday to discuss escalating tensions over Ukraine. The meeting comes after several meetings between officials from both sides last week, which did not yield any results. Reuters,
Update 12.00: The match between Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov has started.
“We do not expect to find a solution to these negotiations. We do expect a concrete answer to our concrete proposals”, said Sergei Lavrov.
We are all equally committed to following the path of diplomacy and dialogue. But we are equally determined, if this path is impossible, and Russia is attacking Ukraine to deliver a unified, quick and serious response,” Antony Blinken also said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Geneva after a visit to several European countries for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, aimed at bolstering the commitments of US allies to sanction Russia if it invades Ukraine.
Washington’s hopes of creating an opposition front for Moscow have been linked to a statement by US President Joe Biden, who speculated that Russia would “enter” Ukraine and warned Moscow would pay dearly for it.
Russia has massacred thousands of soldiers along the border with Ukraine, and Western states fear Moscow is planning a new attack on the country it invaded in 2014 to capture the Crimean peninsula. Russia denies plans to attack, but says it could take unspecified military action if a list of demands, including NATO’s promise not to unify Ukraine, is met.
Asked about Biden’s statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had received similar warnings for at least a month.
“We believe that they in no way help alleviate the tensions that have arisen in Europe and, moreover, they may help destabilize the situation,” Peskov said.
In Kiev on Wednesday, Blinken tried to reassure Ukraine of US support. Before meeting with German, French and British officials in Berlin on Thursday, Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an imminent invasion.
Blinken’s deputy, Wendy Sherman, and Lavrov’s deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, also met last week in Geneva, where both sides expressed seemingly irreconcilable positions.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the “great powers” on Twitter on Thursday, reminding them that there are no small incursions and small countries, “as there are no minor casualties and little pain because of the loss of loved ones.” “
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