- Blinken: We are strongly and decisively committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine
- Putin recently rejected Chancellor Merkel’s proposal to meet leaders under the Minsk Accord, despite Russia repeatedly calling on Ukraine to abide by the terms of the agreement
- Contrary to the obvious facts, Russia has long emphasized that it is not a direct party to the conflict
- Blinken: Ukraine is not seeking a confrontation that would justify Russian military intervention, and the only threat is Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine
- Blinken and Lavrov announced that their presidents will soon conduct a video call in connection with the situation on the border with Ukraine
Original article on POLITICO.eu website
“No one should strengthen their own security at the expense of the safety of others,” Lavrov told reporters, speaking in Stockholm ahead of his meeting with Blinken. – NATO’s further advancement to the east will clearly affect the fundamental interests of our security.
Blinken, sitting next to Lavrov, repeated threats from the US and NATO to punish Russia if its forces invaded Ukraine again, as they did in Crimea in 2014.
“We have deep concerns about Russia’s plans for a renewed aggression against Ukraine,” said Blinken. – We are strongly and decisively committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The best way to deal with a crisis is through diplomacy.
Blinken called on Russia to resume negotiations with Ukraine over peace agreements Minsk 2 under the “Normandy Format” sponsored by France and Germany, while Lavrov demanded that Washington establish an alternative channel of dialogue directly with the Kremlin.
Which is unlikely to happen
Some analysts believe that the latest mobilization of Russian troops at the border is intended, at least in part, to force direct negotiations between Moscow and Washington. This could undermine the Normandy format, while sustaining the frozen conflict in the East Ukraine region of Donbas, where Russia has been arming, financing and supporting the insurgency of separatists for over seven years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently rejected a proposal by the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a meeting of leaders under the Normandy format, despite the fact that Russia has repeatedly called on Ukraine to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreement, which Moscow believes are not being met. Meanwhile, Russia has long emphasized that it is not a direct party to the conflict.
The rest of the text below the video.
Lavrov on Thursday in Stockholm stressed that Russia does not want a new military confrontation. But he also said the US should live up to an offer to create a direct channel between Moscow and Washington outside the Normandy process.
– Let me emphasize that we are interested in joining our efforts to solve the Ukrainian crisis – said Lavrov. – American colleagues have repeatedly said that they want to help, without destroying the Normandy format, by restoring a separate channel of dialogue that existed under the previous administration. We are ready for it.
At the same time, Lavrov demanded that Blinken explain the comments in which the secretary of state accused Russia of failing to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk 2 agreement. – I am waiting for an explanation – he said.
The highest-ranking US and Russian diplomats met in the margins of a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and each suggested that the other party was violating the basic principles of the OSCE, which seeks to promote peace in Europe.
In evidence of misunderstandings, the Department of State and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published transcripts of diplomats’ introductory remarks, in which significant differences can be noticed on some key issues. At least some of these differences turned out to be the result of inaccurate translation.
In a statement following the Lavrov-Blinken meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded that Ukraine “unconditionally and fully implement” the Minsk agreements, “including direct dialogue with the authorities” of Lugansk and Donetsk, the eastern regions of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia-backed separatists.
Blinken, at a press conference in Stockholm after the meeting, rejected Moscow’s recent assurances that Russia was in any way under threat.
– We also confirmed that despite the massive Russian disinformation campaign, Ukraine in no way poses a threat to Russia or seeks a confrontation that would justify a Russian military intervention, said Blinken. – The only threat is a renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine.
He also reiterated the recent warnings of the US and other NATO allies about the serious consequences in the event of a Russian invasion.
“I made very clear our deep concerns and our determination to hold Russia accountable for its actions, including our commitment to cooperate with European allies to burden Russia with serious costs and consequences if it takes further aggressive action against Ukraine,” said Blinken.
Blinken admitted there was a sharp difference in outlook and said envoys would report to their bosses, and a direct conversation between US President Joe Biden and Putin is likely to take place in the coming days.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov and I had a sincere exchange of views on our different perspectives,” he said. – We have agreed to pass this information on to our presidents who may have the opportunity to talk directly in the near future.
Blinken called the discussion “serious” and “sober”. Asked what penalties Russia will face if it invades Ukraine, he reiterated his warning “about high-impact economic measures.”
Then he added courteously, “I think Moscow knows the whole universe of what is possible very well.”
Editing: Michał Broniatowski
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