Urgent US-Russia talks in Geneva as Ukraine invasion fears grow

Urgent US-Russia talks in Geneva as Ukraine invasion fears grow

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met for talks in Geneva on Friday amid mounting fears that Russia could be about to invade Ukraine.

“This is a critical moment,” Mr Blinken said in his opening remarks.

The US and Russia “don’t expect to resolve our differences here today”, he added, but hoped to test whether diplomacy was still a viable option.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Lavrov described the talks as open and useful.

Moscow has 100,000 troops near its borders with Ukraine, but denies planning to invade.

Across the table in a luxury Swiss hotel, Mr Blinken warned his Russian counterpart of a “united, swift and severe” response if Russia did take that step.

President Vladimir Putin has issued demands to the West which he says concern Russia’s security, including that Ukraine be stopped from joining Nato.

He wants the Western defensive alliance to abandon military exercises and stop sending weapons to eastern Europe, which Moscow sees as its backyard.

At a press conference after the meeting, Mr Lavrov accused Nato of working against Russia. He reiterated Moscow’s position that it has “never threatened the Ukrainian people” and has no plans to attack Ukraine.

The US will present Russia with a written response to its security red lines “next week”, he added. (Courtesy BBC)

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