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Sunday, May 29, 2022

US and Russia try to lower temperature in Ukraine crisis

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-stakes talks on Friday aimed at preventing a feared Russian invasion.

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. Blinken said the US and its allies remain resolute in rejecting Russia’s most important demands, which were laid out in writing in two proposals last month, and reiterated on Friday. Moscow wants NATO to promise that Ukraine will never be added as a member, that no alliance weapons will be deployed near Russian borders, and that it pull back its forces from Central and Eastern Europe.

Blinken told Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that — possibly delaying any invasion for at least a few more days.

Despite that, there was no indication the US responses would be any different from the flat-out rejections already expressed publicly by Washington and its allies, clouding future diplomatic efforts.

With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops massed near Ukraine, many fear Moscow is preparing 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 said after the meeting.

Blinken said Lavrov repeated Russia’s insistence that it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but the US and its allies were not convinced.

“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” but declined to characterize the US pledge.

“I can’t say whether we are on the right track or not,” he told reporters. “We will understand that when we receive the US written response to all of our proposals.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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