Following Moscow’s recognition of two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent entities, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday that he had canceled a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which was scheduled for Thursday.
The news: Earlier, Blinken had agreed to meet with his counterpart, Lavrov, only if Russia did not invade Ukraine. But looking at the current situation and what Putin recently confirmed about the Russian rebels, it is certainly impossible that the two would meet with gratitude.
- Blinken, after meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, said in the meeting, “Now that the invasion is underway and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to proceed with that meeting at this time”.
- Blinken further stated that he is still committed to diplomacy “if Moscow’s approach changes” and that he would do everything in his power “to avert an even worse-case scenario, an all-out assault on all of Ukraine, including its capital.”
- “But we will not allow Russia to claim the guise of diplomacy while it accelerates its march toward conflict and war,” he added.
What’s going on: On Tuesday, the Western nations imposed new sanctions on Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on Monday and ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine to “maintain the peace.” That justification for deploying troops has been dismissed by Washington as “nonsense.”
- A reporter of Reuters even saw a few tanks on the outskirts of Donetsk overnight. With that he even heard several explosions in the city on Tuesday.
What are they saying: According to Blinken, Washington consulted with allies before canceling the talks, which were scheduled to take place in Europe, before informing Lavrov in a letter on Tuesday.
- According to Blinken, Putin’s speech announcing the moves was “deeply disturbing” and demonstrated to the world that Putin regards Ukraine as “subordinate to Russia.”
- The United States and its allies will continue to ratchet up sanctions if Russia escalates its aggression toward Ukraine, according to the secretary of state.