Antony Blinken says he will not present formal response to Russian proposals

Jan 19, 2022: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he would not present a formal response to Russia’s proposals on the Ukraine crisis in this week’s talks, saying the two sides needed to find common ground.

Russia – whose Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with Blinken in Geneva – presented the US with an unusually detailed draft after gathering tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders. “I will not present any paper to Foreign Minister Lavrov at this time,” Blinken told reporters in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Wednesday.

“We need to see where we are and see if there remain opportunities to pursue the diplomacy and pursue the dialogue which, as I have said, is by far the preferable course,” he said.

Blinken reiterated that some Russian ideas were “clearly, absolutely, non-starters” such as explicitly barring Ukraine from joining NATO. Instead of responding, Blinken said, “we have expressed our concern about the challenges that Russia poses to the security of the European region.”

The meeting comes a week after the two top diplomats’ deputies met in Geneva and the United States offered to work with Russia on arms control. “We talked about areas where, clearly, if there is a will, we can make progress on a mutual basis to improve security for everyone,” Blinken said.

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