- US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov ended their meeting at President Wilson’s Hotel in Geneva an hour and a half later. Two hours are set.
- After the meeting, Lavrov said that the West would submit a written response to his government’s request for security guarantees next week.
- The US Secretary of State said after the meeting that Blinken agreed with Lavrov that the diplomatic process should continue.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken evaluated the meeting positively. Blinken said in Geneva that the conversation was “open”, without controversy, but marked by professionalism. Both sides now have a better understanding of the other’s position. It was an exchange of views, not negotiations. He agreed with Lavrov that the diplomatic process should continue.
“I 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. “We have made clear that if any Russian forces move across the Ukrainian border, it will be another invasion. The United States and our partners and allies will respond quickly, forcefully and collectively.”
Lavrov quells hopes
At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also dampened hopes for an early relaxation of relations with the West. Lavrov said in advance that he did not expect a breakthrough in the upcoming talks. According to Lavrov, his country has no plans to attack Ukraine. His counterpart asked him to calm the situation. This is not the end of the conversation.
Russia sees its security as threatened by NATO and demands an end to the alliance’s expansion to the east. Lavrov criticized that “an anti-Russian minority” is setting the tone. The minister stressed that the security of a country in Europe cannot be guaranteed at the expense of another country. This principle has been preserved in the documents of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Blinken was asked to comment on how the United States wanted to comply with this principle.
According to a media report, the Russian government expects a written response from the United States to the conditions it has set next week. Interfax news agency reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. According to Lavrov, President Vladimir Putin is always ready to call US President Joe Biden. However, any contact between the two heads of state must be well prepared.
Russia has massed nearly 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, but rejects the accusation that it is preparing to invade the former Soviet republic. The West has repeatedly warned that an invasion of Ukraine would have serious political and economic consequences. The government in Moscow demands security guarantees, such as a NATO commitment not to accept Ukraine into the alliance. NATO rejects this citing the countries’ right to self-determination, but it has not yet shown Ukraine any concrete prospects for accession.
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