Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Breakthrough with Putin unlikely as Ukraine tensions mount

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday downplayed prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough with Moscow forward of excessive stakes U.S.-Russia talks this week geared toward staving off a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I don’t assume we’re going to see any breakthrough,” Mr. Blinken mentioned of the talks formally slated to start Monday in Geneva between Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Overseas Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“We’ll see if there are grounds for progress, however to make precise progress, it’s very arduous to see that taking place when there’s an ongoing escalation, when Russia has a gun to the pinnacle of Ukraine with 100,000 troops close to its borders [and] the opportunity of doubling that on very brief order,” Mr. Blinken advised ABC’s “This Week.”

The sobering remarks from the Biden administration’s prime diplomat replicate mounting considerations in Washington that the slow-burning navy standoff alongside the Russia-Ukraine border may attain a tipping level in coming days.

Analysts say the principally united entrance introduced by the U.S. and its European allies together with threats of crushing financial sanctions have thus far stored Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching a full-scale invasion.

Nevertheless it’s unclear who has the higher hand in Geneva. 

State Division officers mentioned Ms. Sherman and Mr. Ryabkov have been set to satisfy Sunday night time over a working dinner to debate subjects for Monday’s talks.

Mr. Putin could also be in search of a technique to de-escalate tensions simply weeks after delivering a sequence of calls for to the West. His checklist included assurances from the U.S. that Ukraine would by no means be a part of NATO and that the U.S. and NATO would restrict troops and navy gear in Jap Europe.

The U.S. and NATO have roundly rejected these calls for.

Requested Sunday whether or not he believes Mr. Putin has already decided to take management of Ukraine, Mr. Blinken responded that he’s undecided. “I don’t know if the choice has been made,” the secretary of state mentioned, asserting that U.S. officers have supplied Mr. Putin “paths ahead.”

“One is thru diplomacy and dialogue; the opposite is thru deterrence and big penalties for Russia if it renews its aggression towards Ukraine,” Mr. Blinken advised ABC. “We’re about to check the proposition of which path President Putin needs to take this week.”

Issues have been rising for months that Mr. Putin is seeking to develop on his features of 2014, when Russia forcibly annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that has a pro-Western authorities and has for years been the scene of tense geopolitical wrangling between Moscow and the West.

Ben Wolfgang contributed to this report.

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