U.S., Russia Try To Reduce Ukraine, Hold Meeting In Geneva
The United States and Russia sought to lower the temperature in a heated standoff over Ukraine, even as they reported no breakthroughs in high-level, high-stakes talks on Friday aimed at preventing a feared Russian invasion, Matthew Lee and Jamey Keaten reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The US and Russian sides, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during their talks in Geneva.
Armed with seemingly intractable and diametrically opposed demands, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva for roughly 90 minutes at what the American said was a “critical moment.”
But there was no apparent movement on either side, and Blinken said the US and its allies remain resolute in rejecting Russia’s most important demands.
Nonetheless, Blinken told Lavrov that the US would present Russia with written responses to its proposals next week and suggested the two men would likely meet again shortly after that.
With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops massed near Ukraine, many fear Moscow is preparing for an invasion although Russia denies that. The US and its allies are scrambling to present a united front to prevent that or coordinate a tough response if they can’t.
“We didn’t expect any major breakthroughs to happen today, but I believe we are now on a clearer path to understanding each other’s positions,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting.
Blinken said Lavrov repeated Russia’s insistence that it has no plans to invade Ukraine but stressed that the US and its allies were not convinced of that. “We’re looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions and not words that make all the difference,” he said, adding that Russia should remove its troops from the Ukrainian border if it wanted to prove its point.
Lavrov, meanwhile, called the talks “constructive and useful” and said the US agreed to provide written responses to Russian demands on Ukraine and NATO next week. That could at least delay any imminent aggression for a few days.