Nfter crisis talks between Foreign Ministers Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Geneva, the American side announced that Russia would respond in writing to Moscow’s demands. The United States would coordinate with its allies and then “put some proposals on the table,” Blinken said at a news conference. America and its NATO allies staunchly reject Russia’s demands to rule out an expansion of the western military alliance. Moscow is also demanding the withdrawal of NATO troops from countries in the former Soviet zone of influence.
The ministers ended their Geneva talks on Friday afternoon after around an hour and a half, not quite exhausting the planned time frame. There was no question of a rapprochement afterwards. However, Lavrov called the meeting “open and useful”. President Vladimir Putin is also always ready to get in touch with US President Joe Biden. However, any contact between the two should be well prepared. Blinken also emphasized that they exchanged ideas “openly”; that was “helpful”. Both sides now have a better understanding of each other’s positions.
Flashing: duty of assistance only applies to NATO countries
Efforts to ease the tension have been in full swing since last week, but have so far produced no tangible results. The United States and its western allies are demanding that 100,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border withdraw inland. After the meeting, Lavrov reiterated that his country had no plans to attack Ukraine. He accused NATO of working against his country. Russia is concerned about sending weapons and military advisers to Ukraine.
Blinken said, “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. With its current military formation, Russia could attack Ukraine from the south, east and north. “We have made it clear that if any Russian forces move across Ukraine’s border, it will be a repeat invasion. The United States and our partners and allies will react to this quickly, forcefully and with combined forces.” However, he also pointed out that the duty of assistance in NATO according to Article 5 exclusively encompasses all members of the alliance. Ukraine is not one of them.
Blinken said he agreed with Lavrov that the diplomatic process must continue. Blinken confirmed that Washington wanted to give Moscow a written answer to the Russian demands next week. After that we will talk to each other again.