RUss Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart Antony Blinken ended their crisis talks on the Ukraine conflict earlier than planned on Friday in Geneva. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, shorter than the scheduled two hours, according to Russian news agencies.
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 had announced 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 United States and its western allies are demanding that 100,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border withdraw inland. Russia, on the other hand, wants written security guarantees and an end to the eastward expansion of the western military alliance NATO.
Lavrov: This is not the end of the dialogue
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the meeting that his country had no plans to attack Ukraine. Blinken asked him to de-escalate the situation. This is not the end of the dialogue. The West will provide its government with a written response to its request for security guarantees next week. He accused NATO of working against his country. Russia is concerned about sending weapons and military advisers to Ukraine.
Despite the conversation ending early, Lavrov drew a positive balance of his conversation with Blinken: The meeting was “open and useful”. President Vladimir Putin is also always ready to get in touch with US President Joe Biden. However, any contact between the two should be well prepared.
Blinken also said after the meeting that the conversation with Lavrov in Geneva was “open” and helpful. Both sides now have a better understanding of each other’s position. “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. “We have made it clear that if any Russian forces move across Ukraine’s border, it will be a repeat invasion. The United States and our partners and allies will respond quickly, forcefully, and collectively.”
Blinken said he agreed with Lavrov that the diplomatic process must continue. Blinken confirmed that Washington wanted to give Moscow a written answer to the Russian demands next week. After that we will talk to each other again.