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Sergey Lavrov and Antony Blinken, a tête-à-tête amid tensions in Ukraine

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The heads of American and Russian diplomacy are to meet Thursday in Sweden on the sidelines of a conference on European security. The day before, Antony Blinken said he had “evidence” of preparations for the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The Secretary of State threatened Moscow with economic sanctions if he took action.

In full escalation on Ukraine, the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, meet, Thursday, December 2, in Sweden, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE, a rare international forum for dialogue of which the United States and Russia are both members, has been tasked, since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, to monitor compliance with the peace agreements supposed to settle the conflict. in rebellious eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and its Western allies have been sounding the alarm since November concerning a further reinforcement of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine and a possible winter invasion. Washington claimed to have “evidence” of preparations for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and raised the threat of sanctions.

Moscow, which has captured Crimea and is accused of supporting separatists fighting Kiev, has denied planning an attack. Russia in turn blames NATO for fueling tensions.

US threatens Russians with economic sanctions

These tensions rose a notch the day before, during a NATO meeting in Riga. Antony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” by “the evidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has plans for significant aggressive actions against Ukraine”.

The American insisted that diplomacy was “the only responsible way to resolve this potential crisis” and threatened with a response with “a series of high impact economic measures” that Washington “has” refrained from using in the past”.

Moscow responded to these suspicions again by accusing Ukraine of massing tens of thousands of soldiers in the east of the country. President Putin called on Wednesday for “concrete agreements” preventing NATO’s expansion to the east and the deployment of its weapons systems near Russian borders. He proposed to launch “substantive negotiations” on this subject.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, called for direct talks with Moscow over the ongoing conflict in the east of his country.

With AFP


France 24-Trans

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