After meeting with Lavrov
Blink: Invasion would produce “hard” reaction
01/21/2022, 2:47 p.m
The talks were “open,” said the US Secretary of State after meeting his Russian counterpart. Blinken underscores that if soldiers from Russia cross the border into Ukraine, it would be an invasion – to which the West would “react with combined forces”.
After the crisis talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again warned Moscow against an invasion of Ukraine. “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. “We have made it clear that if any Russian forces move across Ukraine’s border, it will be a reinvasion. The United States and our partners and allies will respond swiftly, forcefully, and with combined forces.”
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden also caused confusion in the Ukrainian government. By declaring that a minor aggression by Russia towards Ukraine would provoke a milder Western response than a full-scale invasion. Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki later felt compelled to put the statement into perspective – and made a statement similar to that of the US chief diplomat.
Blinken said the conversation with Lavrov was “frank and substantive”. 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 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.
Blinking indicates further conversations
“We didn’t expect a big breakthrough today, but I think we’re on a clear path now in terms of understanding each other’s concerns and positions,” said Blinken. He assumes that he will be able to communicate his concerns and ideas about the crisis to Russia in more detail and in writing in the coming week. “And we have agreed to hold further talks afterwards,” said Blinken. The aim is also to respond to Russia’s demands. Lavrov assured Blinken that Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine.
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.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State still sees the possibility of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran. The topic was the subject of his conversation with Lavrov. Incidentally, dealing with the Iranian nuclear program is a good example of how Russia and the United States can work together. During his visit to Berlin on Thursday, Blinken said with regard to Iran that progress was “very, very urgently” necessary.