© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Spanish Overseas Minister Jose Manuel Albares (not pictured) on the U.S. Division of State in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2022. Nicholas Kamm/Pool by way of REUTERS
By Simon Lewis and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden’s high diplomat will search to defuse a disaster with Moscow over Ukraine when he meets the Russian international minister in Geneva this week following visits with Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv and European officers in Berlin.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will journey amid considerations voiced by Ukraine and its Western allies over the tens of hundreds of Russian troops amassed in and close to Ukraine.
“The US doesn’t need battle. We would like peace,” a senior U.S. State Division official stated on Tuesday.
“(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin has it in his energy to take steps to de-escalate this disaster so the USA and Russia can pursue a relationship that isn’t primarily based on hostility or disaster,” the official informed reporters.
Russia denies planning a brand new army offensive however has made a number of calls for and stated it may take unspecified army motion until the West agrees to them..
Blinken will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday.
Then in Berlin he’ll meet German Overseas Minister Annalena Baerbock and later the Transatlantic Quad, referring to a format that entails the USA, Britain, France and Germany.
A State Division assertion stated the discussions would focus partially on a readiness amongst allies to impose “large penalties and extreme financial prices on Russia.”
Blinken will meet Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday to hunt a diplomatic off-ramp with Moscow, the senior official stated.
Blinken spoke with Lavrov on Tuesday and the senior official stated the 2 determined within the name that it might be helpful to fulfill in individual.
Lavrov individually stated Moscow would welcome U.S. diplomatic efforts and reiterated Russian accusations that Ukraine was “sabotaging” agreements geared toward ending the battle between Ukrainian authorities forces and pro-Russian separatists in jap Ukraine.
Regardless of diplomatic engagements this month, Washington has but to see Russia de-escalate tensions and Moscow may launch an assault on Ukraine at any time in January or February, the senior official stated.
“We are actually at a stage the place Russia may at any level launch an assault on Ukraine,” the official stated
A second senior State Division official on Tuesday voiced concern about Russian troops being deployed since Monday in Belarus near its southern flank with Ukraine for what Moscow and Minsk say shall be joint army drills.
The numbers of Russian troops are past what the USA would anticipate in a standard train and doubtlessly may very well be used to assault neighboring Ukraine, the official stated.
Biden has warned of extreme financial penalties for Moscow if Russia invades Ukraine.
Baerbock, in Moscow for talks together with her counterpart, on Tuesday stated Germany was able to pay a excessive financial value to defend its basic values within the Russia-Ukraine battle.
Kyiv has sought weapons from Western nations to shore up its protection. On Monday, Britain stated it had begun supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons to assist it defend itself.
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