As worries grow of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Russia to pursue a “diplomatic and peaceful path”
An estimated 100,000 Russian troops have been positioned along Ukraine’s borders, and Mr Blinken, who was in Kyiv, said Russia was planning to strengthen them up quickly. Russia has long rejected any intention of invading neighboring Ukraine. Senior US officials, meanwhile, fear Moscow may launch a strike “any point”
Following discussions with European allies in Berlin, Mr Blinken will see his Russian colleague in Geneva on Friday.
Senior State Department sources suggested that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be provided a “diplomatic off-ramp” in Geneva ahead of his travel to Kyiv. According to the White House, no option is off the table.
Russia has made a number of requests to Western nations, including that Ukraine never join NATO and that the defence alliance’s military actions in member states such as Poland be curbed. Last week’s talks between the West and Russia fell short of a resolution, with several of Moscow’s requests dismissed as non-starters.
“I strongly, strongly hope that we can keep this on a diplomatic and peaceful path, but ultimately, that’s going to be President Putin’s decision,” Mr Blinken told reporters in Kyiv.
Despite Russia’s claims that it has no preparations for an invasion, tensions remain high along Ukraine’s borders, with Russian troops stationed in neighboring Belarus for joint military drills.
Mr. Lavrov also dismissed as “total disinformation.” US assertions that Russia was developing a pretext for a military intervention in Ukraine.
Mr Blinken’s travel to Kyiv on Wednesday was characterized as an attempt to “reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” ahead of meetings with German, French, and British colleagues in Berlin on Thursday.
During a visit to Moscow on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned that any further military escalation “would carry a high price for the Russian regime – economic, political and strategic”
Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, has urged Western nations to implement sanctions on Moscow immediately.
On Tuesday, a shipment of small anti-tank missiles arrived in Kyiv from the United Kingdom, as British authorities warned Moscow to consider the possibility of war, which might kill thousands.