Ukraine conflict: Blinken warns Russia

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Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State © Andrew Harnik / dpa

After the crisis talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again warned Moscow against an invasion of Ukraine.

Geneva – “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 quickly, forcefully, and collectively.”

Blinken said the conversation with Lavrov was “frank and substantial.” 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. (dpa)

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