Blinken-Lavrov talks ended prematurely – US Secretary of State warns of escalation

Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov (from left) in Geneva on Friday.

One conversation, two opinions.

(Photo: AP)

Geneva After the crisis talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again warned Moscow against an invasion of Ukraine. “I have conveyed the position of the United States and our European allies and partners that we stand firmly with Ukraine and support its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Blinken said in Geneva on Friday.

“We have made it clear that if any Russian forces move across Ukraine’s border, it will be a re-invasion. The United States and our partners and allies will respond swiftly, forcefully, and with combined strength.” Blinken said the conversation with Lavrov was “frank and substantive.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov draws a positive balance of his talks with Blinken. The meeting was “open and useful,” Lavrov said. He announced that the dialogue should continue. President Vladimir Putin is always ready to get in touch with US President Joe Biden. However, any contact between the two heads of state should be well prepared.

Blinken has assured him that the West will provide his government with a written response to its request for security guarantees next week, Lavrov said. After that we will see.

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>> Read more about the Ukraine conflict here – and how Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is using the weakness of the West for his imperialist interests.

Russia has never threatened the Ukrainian people and has no plans to attack the former Soviet republic. He hoped that things would calm down again. Blinken asked him to de-escalate the situation. However, NATO is working against his country, Lavrov said. Russia is concerned about sending weapons and military advisers to Ukraine.

So far no tangible results

Blinken and Lavrov ended their crisis talks in the Ukraine conflict after around an hour and a half, earlier than planned. The two chief diplomats greeted each other with a handshake around 11 a.m. in a hotel on Lake Geneva. At the start, both made it clear that they did not expect a breakthrough in the talks. Blinken and Lavrov subsequently held separate press conferences on the talks.

Efforts to ease the tension have been in full swing since last week, but have so far produced no tangible results. The US and its allies fear Russia could invade Ukraine. They demand that the roughly 100,000 Russian soldiers who have gathered at the border withdraw to the rear. Russia, on the other hand, wants written security guarantees and an end to the eastward expansion of the western military alliance NATO.

More: Follow the current developments in the Ukraine crisis in the live blog.

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