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Ukraine’s sharp meeting between the United States and Russia

News of Friday’s meeting between Americans Anthony Blinken and his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov of the US State Department came on Tuesday.

The two will meet in Geneva, Switzerland.

This news came during a day when many messages, demands and proposals about the Ukrainian crisis came from several capitals.

The US State Department announced from Washington that Blinkin will travel to Ukraine for meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, possibly already on Wednesday.

Blinken’s visit “affirms the commitment of the United States to preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the US State Department wrote in connection with the announcement of the trip.

Repeat requirements

Then his Russian counterpart Lavrov went out of his way to repeat earlier demands for guarantees from the United States and NATO not to expand NATO’s scope to include the republics of the former Soviet Union, or to place weapons in these areas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Lavrov “reiterated the unequivocal demand that Washington provide concrete comments on the previously mentioned points as soon as possible.”

The move comes in the context of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Annallina Barbock, who visited Moscow on Tuesday.

And the United States, in turn, announced that Blinken was going to Berlin, after visiting Kiev, to meet with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

NATO is calling

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced Russia’s invitation to a new meeting with NATO countries, a meeting that could take place “in the near future”. The message came after Stoltenberg met with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz in Berlin.

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The goal is to “clarify our concerns, but also listen to Russia’s concerns; and try to find a way to avoid a military attack on Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference after meeting with Social Democrat Schultz.

The already tense situation in Ukraine was exacerbated by the fact that Russia has long moved its forces towards the border with Ukraine. The sharp rhetoric between Russia and the United States has intensified in recent days as the United States has hinted at Russian plans to try to provoke a military conflict.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Fomin announced on Tuesday that Russia will move its forces from the eastern part of the country to Belarus to conduct all-out combat exercises with Belarus – which also borders Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry via AP/TT