State Secretary Blinken said at a news briefing following his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on January 21.

Blinken and Lavrov held a 90-minute bilateral meeting in which the U.S. sought to convince Russia to de-escalate the situation at the Ukrainian border where Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops. 

Antony Blinken described the discussion as “frank and substantive,” calling it a “candid exchange of concerns and ideas.” At the same time he warned, “I conveyed the position of the United States and our European allies and partners that we stand firmly with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We’ve been clear: If any Russian military forces move across Ukraine’s border, that’s a renewed invasion. It will be met with a swift, severe and united response from the United States and our partners and allies.”

According to the State Secretary, their meeting was a continuation of the last week talks with Russia regarding strategic stability and crisis in Ukraine.

“Our objective was to determine whether Russia is prepared to take the diplomatic path and other necessary steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and, ultimately, to resolve our differences through diplomacy and through dialogue,” said Mr. Blinken.

“Foreign Minister Lavrov and I agreed that it’s important for the diplomatic process to continue,” noted the head of the U.S. State Department and added that the United States and Russia are on a clear path to understanding mutual concerns. 

According to the State Secretary, the United States will present its concerns and ideas in writing next week. The negotiating parties agreed to hold further diplomatic  discussions.

At the same time he noted, “We didn’t expect any major breakthroughs to happen today, but I believe we are now on a clearer path in terms of understanding each other’s concerns, each other’s positions.”

And Mr. Blinken’s opinion was shared by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who stressed that his American counterpart and he had not expected a major breakthrough at their talks in Geneva. Lavrov referred to the meeting as an intermediate discussion the main purpose of which is to help the United States give next week a written answer to Russia’s proposals concerning security guarantees.

The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that his country had never threatened the Ukrainian people. He rebuffed a reporter’s question about the threat of a new escalation in Ukraine in view of the accumulation of Russian troops at her border. Lavrov called his question strange.

The U.S. State Secretary declared ahead of the Geneva meeting with Sergei Lavrov that the United States and Western countries did not seek to endanger the security of Russia and her people, that it is the Kremlin that bears all the responsibility for escalation in Ukraine.

“And if I could speak to the Russian people, I would say to them you deserve to live with security and dignity like all people everywhere, and no one – not Ukraine, not the United States, not NATO or its members – is seeking to jeopardize that,” said the American diplomat.  

Antony Blinken reminded the Russian authorities that if their troops invade Ukraine the citizens of the Russian Federation would suffer great losses, too. He stressed, “But what really risks your security is a pointless war with your neighbors in Ukraine with all the costs that come with it.”

He called upon the world to pay attention to the developments around Ukraine. The State Secretary stressed strongly that it was not an isolated regional conflict and not another example of bullying by Russia. What at stake are principles that have made the world secure and stable over many decades.

The newspaper Voice of Ukraine