The US has affirmed its commitment to pursue diplomacy in the Ukraine situation as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are scheduled to meet later this week in Europe. Reiterating its commitment to handling the situation diplomatically, the US confirmed the meeting between Blinken and Lavrov, according to a statement released by the White House. However, it asserted that the said meeting will take place only if Russia does not proceed with the military action.
The statement added that following this engagement, US President Joe Biden has accepted in principle a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin only if Russia does not invade Ukraine. The White House also warned Russia of consequences should the latter choose war. “We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war. And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon,” read the statement.
In the past few months, the West and Ukraine have accused Russia of a troop build-up near the Ukrainian border in alleged preparation for an “invasion”. Moscow has denied these accusations, repeatedly stating that it is not threatening anyone and at the same time expressing strong concerns over NATO’s military activity near the Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security.
Moscow has also said Russia has the right to move troops within its national territory. Russia has also warned Western countries that military deliveries to Kyiv may encourage the latter to use them against the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Donbas.