Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov assured his US counterpart, Anthony Blinken, at the beginning of the talks considered crucial to defusing the Ukrainian crisis, that he does not expect a “turning point”.
As they sat face to face, Blinken Lavrov promised, at the start of the talks, which should last about two hours, a “united, swift and firm” response if Russia invaded Ukraine, but stressed that the United States they continue to seek a diplomatic solution.
It is also expected that the duration of the meeting, to be held in one of the buildings overlooking Lake Liman will not exceed two hours, after which each of the two ministers will release statements separately in front of the press.
Lavrov and Blinken, who knew each other well, shook hands around 10:00 GMT and got straight to the point even before the reporters were called out of the room.
Interestingly, this meeting is the latest step in an intense diplomatic process that began 11 days ago in Geneva between their two collaborators.
Washington suspects that Moscow intends to invade Ukraine, while the Kremlin denies it has any intention of doing so, despite retaining around 100,000 troops along the border with its neighbor.
“Don’t be afraid of anyone”
US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was reported to tweet at night that the Americans and their allies had held out their hands, but “so far our goodwill steps have been rejected.”
“Russia is not afraid of anyone, not even the United States,” he told reporters in his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ryabkov, from the room where the meeting will be held on Friday, in answer to a question posed by a reporter about what Russia fears.
Ryabkov also added in Russian that “the US attempt to increase tensions yesterday and the day before yesterday does not create the necessary atmosphere” for the talks. He continued: “We will try to convince the Americans to change their tone and urge them to act according to our agenda, on security guarantees.”
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