US, Russia hold high-stakes talks on Ukraine

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet on Friday in Geneva, limited to a week of diplomacy as the United States aims to counter a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the last year, Russia has moved troops and an estimated 100,000 are stationed near the border with eastern Ukraine. Russia recently deployed more troops to its ally Belarus for exercises, a move a US official told Guardians NATO did not know about this in advance. The number of troops, the official added, is “in excess of what we would expect for a conventional exercise.”

The Biden administration has warned that Russia may be planning a fake flag attack, sent special forces to Ukraine to launch an attack under the pretext of an invasion. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at this stage, “Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine at any point.”

During their meeting, Blinken and Lavrov will discuss “whether there is a possibility of a diplomatic move to this crisis,” a State Department official told reporters on Tuesday. The official added that the US “is prepared to continue to engage with Russia on security issues in a meaningful, reciprocal dialogue”. “We’ll see this Friday if Russia is prepared to do the same.” Before the summit, Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, as well as his French, German and British counterparts in Berlin.

Russia says that its troops, heavy weapons and tanks along the border do not indicate an imminent invasion. Citing security concerns, Moscow insisted that the West not let Ukraine and Georgia join NATO, a request the Biden administration said it would not address. US, Russia hold high-stakes talks on Ukraine

Huynh Nguyen

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