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Blinken: U.S.-Russia to continue talks on Ukraine crisis

“I advised him that, following the consultations that we’ll have within the coming days with allies and companions, we anticipate that we’ll have the option to share with Russia our issues and concepts in additional element and in writing subsequent week, and we agreed to additional discussions after that,” Blinken mentioned.

Nonetheless, it stays unclear how a written response to Moscow from Washington will assist advance the principally stagnant diplomacy between Russia and the West. The USA has already dominated out Russia’s main calls for: that NATO pull again its presence within the Baltic and Japanese Europe, and that Ukraine and Georgia be completely barred from becoming a member of the army alliance.

“This was not a negotiation, however a candid trade of issues and concepts,” Blinken mentioned Friday. “I made clear to Minister Lavrov that there are specific points and basic ideas that america and our companions and allies are dedicated to defend. That features people who would impede the sovereign proper of the Ukrainian folks to write their very own future. There isn’t any commerce house there. None.”

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“We’ve mentioned from the start that there are specific proposals that won’t be viable,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki said at her news briefing on Friday, elaborating on america’ written response to Russia.

“It’s not written solutions like we’re filling out a Q&A,” Psaki added. “We’re additionally going to convey what our issues are and reiterate plenty of the robust statements you’ve heard the president and Secretary Blinken convey very publicly. So that is simply part of the diplomatic course of and diplomatic negotiations.”

In his remarks to reporters, Blinken additionally burdened that Russia would face vital penalties for any additional aggression towards Ukraine — a warning that got here after President Joe Biden obtained criticism this week for suggesting {that a} “minor incursion” might immediate confusion amongst Western nations over how to retaliate.

“I conveyed the place of america and our European allies and companions that we stand firmly with Ukraine in assist of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Blinken mentioned. “We’ve been clear: If any Russian army forces transfer throughout Ukraine’s border, that’s a renewed invasion. It will likely be met with swift, extreme and a united response from america and our companions and allies.

Blinken’s session with Lavrov on Friday represented the most recent spherical of talks after two straight weeks of diplomacy among the many United States, European allies and Russia. Final week noticed U.S. and Russian officers meet in Geneva, Russia and NATO member states meet in Brussels, and OSCE-participating nations meet in Vienna.

This week, Blinken traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and International Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He then traveled to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and International Minister Annalena Baerbock, in addition to members of the Transatlantic Quad, which consists of France, Germany, the UK and america.

The safety scenario has continued to devolve, nevertheless, and america’ rhetoric a few potential Russian invasion has turn into more and more dire in current days. “We’re now at a stage the place Russia might at any level launch an assault in Ukraine,” Psaki mentioned Tuesday.

In the meantime, america is actively weighing whether or not to evacuate members of the family of U.S. diplomats stationed in Ukraine, in accordance to a supply acquainted with the matter. In an announcement to POLITICO, a State Division spokesperson didn’t deny that the division was contemplating such an possibility, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

“We have now nothing to announce presently. We conduct rigorous contingency planning, as we at all times do, within the occasion the safety scenario deteriorates,” the spokesperson mentioned. “If there’s a choice to change our posture with respect to American diplomats and their households, Americans shouldn’t anticipate that there can be U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. At present industrial flights can be found to assist departures.”

Regardless of the escalating tensions, Blinken mentioned Friday that Lavrov insisted Russia had “no intention of invading” Ukraine. “However once more,” Blinken added, “we’re what’s seen to all, and it’s deeds and actions — not phrases — that make the distinction.”

Following his assembly with Lavrov, Blinken mentioned he would return to Washington “to seek the advice of with President Biden and our complete nationwide safety staff, in addition to members of Congress, and critically, allies and companions within the days forward.”

Blinken additionally didn’t rule out one other leader-level dialog between Biden and Putin to advance the U.S.-Russia diplomacy past what little it has been ready to accomplish to this point. Biden has already spoken twice with Putin concerning the Russia-Ukraine crisis, first on Dec. 7 and once more on Dec. 30.

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“If it proves helpful and productive for the 2 presidents to meet, to discuss, to interact, to attempt to carry issues ahead, I feel we’re absolutely ready to do this,” Blinken mentioned.

“It might or might not be the following step,” Psaki mentioned. “I can’t offer you a prediction of if and when it should occur. But when that may be a step that’s really useful and that we predict can be efficient at this level within the dialogue, in fact the president is at all times open to leader-to-leader engagement.”

Alexander Ward contributed to this report.

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