Home Top News US and Russia dig in over Ukraine disaster as Blinken visits Kyiv

US and Russia dig in over Ukraine disaster as Blinken visits Kyiv


The United States and Russia have dug of their heels over Russia’s navy buildup on Ukraine’s border with no signal both will relent from entrenched positions which have raised fears of a Russian invasion and a brand new struggle in Europe.

In advance of crucial talks Friday between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the 2 sides appeared no nearer to any compromise that may ease tensions and avert the specter of a Russian invasion.

Ukraine, in the meantime, stated it was ready for the worst and would survive no matter difficulties come its manner.

On a go to to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv on Wednesday, Blinken accused Russia of planning to bolster the greater than 100,000 troops it has deployed alongside the Ukrainian border and steered that quantity might double “on relatively short order”.

Blinken didn’t elaborate, however Russia has despatched an unspecified variety of troops from the nation’s far east to its ally Belarus, which additionally shares a border with Ukraine, for main struggle video games subsequent month.

Blinken additionally reiterated Washington’s calls for for Russia to de-escalate the scenario by eradicating its forces from the border space, one thing that Moscow has flatly refused to do.

Blinken stated he wouldn’t current a written response on Russia’s proposals to Lavrov in Geneva however promised “relentless diplomatic efforts to prevent renewed aggression and to promote dialogue and peace”.

Meanwhile, a high Russian diplomat stated Moscow wouldn’t again down from its insistence that the US formally ban Ukraine from ever becoming a member of NATO and cut back its and the alliance’s navy presence in Eastern Europe.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated Moscow had no intention of invading Ukraine however that its calls for for safety ensures had been non-negotiable.

The US and its allies have stated the Russian calls for are non-starters, that Russia is aware of they’re and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is utilizing them partially to create a pretext for invading Ukraine.

The former Soviet republic aspires to affix the alliance, although has little hope of doing so within the foreseeable future.

The impasse left little hope that Blinken and Lavrov’s assembly, which follows a sequence of inconclusive talks final week, will ease tensions which have been rising since final 12 months however have soared up to now weeks with elevated Russian navy exercise.

‘Relentless aggression’

In Kyiv, Blinken urged Western nations to stay united within the face of Russian aggression. He additionally reassured Ukraine’s chief of NATO assist whereas calling for Ukrainians to face sturdy.

Blinken informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the US and its allies had been steadfast in backing his nation and its democratic aspirations in opposition to Russian makes an attempt to incite division and discord by “relentless aggression”.

“Our strength depends on preserving our unity and that includes unity within Ukraine,” he informed Zelenskyy.

“I think one of Moscow’s longstanding goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within our countries, and quite simply we cannot and will not let them do that.”

The Biden administration had stated earlier it was offering a further $200m in defensive navy assist to Ukraine. Blinken stated extra help is coming and that it could solely enhance ought to Russia invade.

Zelenskyy thanked Blinken for the help, which was authorized in late December however not confirmed till Wednesday.

“This [military] support not only speaks to our strategic plans of Ukraine joining the alliance, but more importantly to the level of our military, our military supplies,” he stated, referring to Kyiv’s need to affix NATO.

“Your visit is very important,” Zelenskyy stated. “It underlines once again your powerful support of our independence and sovereignty.”

From Kyiv, Blinken plans a brief journey to Berlin for talks with German and different European allies on Thursday earlier than assembly with Lavrov.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Kyiv, stated the locals she spoke to had been “quite blase about the idea that a military escalation could happen anytime soon”.

“They think there is a lot of talk at the moment, a lot of fearmongering, but you don’t get the idea that there’s panic among people – certainly a bit of worry,” Abdel Hamid stated.

“You don’t get this sense that there is mass panic about it. There’s no run to the supermarkets, people are going about their lives. Also, people do feel confident that this time the Ukrainian ministry is much stronger, it has received much training, it has received much military hardware; it is in a better position than it was in 2014.”

Russia in 2014 seized the Crimean Peninsula after the overthrow of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly chief and likewise threw its weight behind a separatist armed rebellion in japanese Ukraine.

More than 14,000 individuals have been killed in nearly eight years of combating between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces within the nation’s industrial heartland, referred to as Donbas.