US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Russia will have to choose between talks and confrontation before talks in Geneva on escalating tensions over Ukraine.
“Some of it is a way of negotiation and diplomacy to resolve differences and avoid confrontation,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show.
“The other way round is confrontational and has massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression on Ukraine. We are about to test this proposal to see which path President Putin is willing to take.”
Vladimir Putin’s government has reportedly massacred thousands of military soldiers along Russia’s border with Ukraine, bringing Washington into a Cold War-style standoff.
Blinken warned that any positive outcome from the talks would depend on Russia’s willingness to withdraw from its aggressive posture, which he likened to “an escalation environment with a gun to Ukraine’s head”.
“So if we’re really going to make progress, we have to see the de-escalation, Russia retreat from the threat it currently poses to Ukraine,” said US President Joe Biden’s top diplomat.
On Sunday, Moscow denied any concessions in the much-anticipated talks, which open a week of diplomacy in which Russian officials will meet with NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Kremlin, wary of NATO’s possible eastward expansion, has insisted never grant membership to the group to Ukraine, a former Soviet state insisting on joining the trans-Atlantic body.
Washington has also acknowledged that Moscow has expressed interest in discussing the future of missile systems in Europe.
Blinken made the rounds of Sunday talk shows by keeping in mind the need for dialogue.
He acknowledged that he did not expect major breakthroughs in the talks, but insisted that Washington’s rivals await possible penalties if they do not engage in diplomacy.
In ABC’s “This Week”, he said, “Russia could face serious economic and financial consequences, with NATO continuing to provide aid to Ukraine as NATO strengthens its position near Russia.” “
“It’s not just me saying it. We have made it clear to the G7 (the grouping of seven major democracies) that this will have massive consequences. The EU and NATO allies and allies too.”
Earlier this month Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington and its allies would give a “decisive response” if Russia proceeds to attack.
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