Sun, 22 May 2022

Geneva [Switzerland], January 21 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (local time) said that President Joe Biden is ready to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin if progress is made on Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is "fully prepared" for another Biden-Putin summit "if it proves useful and productive.""If we conclude and the Russians conclude that the best way to resolve things is through a further conversation between them, we're certainly prepared to do that," said Blinken at a press conference after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.

Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva for an hour and a half to discuss escalating tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border.

Blinken also said the US will share its concerns with Russia "in more detail, and in writing next week," during the meeting with Lavrov.

"I told him that following the consultations that we will have in the coming days with allies and partners, we anticipate that we will be able to share with Russia our concerns in more detail, and in writing next week," Blinken said during a news conference following his meeting with Lavrov.

The US and Russia "agreed to further discussions after that," Blinken said.

The top US diplomat said that after the US shares its written responses to Russia's concerns, there will be further conversations "at least at the level of foreign ministers."Meanwhile, Lavrov said contact with the US will continue and did not rule out a Biden-Putin summit.

"We are waiting for their official answer (to Russian security demands)," Lavrov said during a press conference after a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "We're planning another conversation at our ministerial level.""President Putin is always ready for contact with President Biden," Lavrov added but said it the two sides were not in that position yet.

He concluded, "we need to understand what will happen before we go to the presidential level."Blinken said there was "no-trade space" when it came to the principle of "the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to write their own future."He told that Washington is committed to a "united, swift and severe response" if Moscow commits further aggression against Ukraine.

The two top diplomats ended their hour and a half bilateral meeting Friday, during which the US tried to convince Russia to de-escalate the situation at the Ukrainian border where Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops and shown signs of a potential invasion into Ukraine.

"We are, all of us, all equally committed to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to try to resolve our differences," Blinken said, adding, "But we're also committed, if that proves impossible and Russia decides to pursue aggression against Ukraine, to a united, swift and severe response."At a news conference following the meeting with Blinken, Lavrov said that the US had agreed to send written answers to all of Russia's security demands.

Both sides admitted before their talks that neither was expecting a breakthrough on Russia's security demands, which the US and allies have deemed nonstarters.

Blinken reiterated he didn't expect the US and Russia to resolve their differences in the meeting but said he hoped to keep a diplomatic path to addressing those issues open.

"We're committed to walking that path and resolving our differences peacefully," he said.

Blinken's meeting with Lavrov on Friday followed his meetings in Berlin with his German, UK and French counterparts and Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are at their highest in years, with a Russian troop build-up near the two nations' borders spurring fears that Moscow could launch an invasion.

Ukraine has warned that Russia is trying to destabilize the country ahead of any planned military invasion. Western powers have repeatedly warned Russia against further aggressive moves against Ukraine.

The Kremlin denies it is planning to attack and argues that NATO support for Ukraine -- including increased weapons supplies and military training -- constitutes a growing threat on Russia's western flank. (ANI)

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