Russia and US to Meet in Geneva as Ukraine War Fears Rise | Ukraine

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Diplomats from Russia and the United States are due to hold crucial talks as a week-long standoff over Ukraine is on the cusp of a pivotal and potentially violent phase, with concerns growing over the possibility that Europe is once again in the grip of war.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet in Geneva – once a key Cold War crossroads – to try to avert a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine amid demands for concessions from Moscow to NATO on its relations with the former Soviet republic.

On Friday morning, Russia appeared to harden its stance ahead of the day’s talks. Its foreign ministry said Moscow was seeking guarantees from the West, including provisions forcing NATO forces out of Romania and Bulgaria, countries that joined in 1997.

Blinken on Thursday played down any prospect of an immediate solution in the Geneva talks, which are expected to last around two hours, saying any resolution of the difficult issues involved “will not happen quickly” and was certainly not expected by Friday. .

Washington and its allies have repeatedly promised “tough” consequences such as biting economic sanctions – but not military action – against Russia should an invasion take place by the 100,000 Russian troops who are positioned near the Ukrainian border. since weeks.

On Thursday, Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary, warned Russia that any invasion of Ukraine would only lead to disaster on the scale of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, Truss described the conflict in Ukraine as part of a larger dispute between what she saw as liberal states and autocracies, including Russia and China.

She urged Vladimir Putin to “abstain and withdraw from Ukraine before he makes a massive strategic mistake”. The Kremlin, she said, ‘has not learned the lessons of history‘ and an ‘invasion will only lead to a terrible quagmire and death, as we know from war and conflict Soviet-Afghans in Chechnya”.

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