President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is in Kiev on January 19 on an official visit.
Blinken’s visit to Ukraine, according to him, is primarily associated with the request of US President Joseph Biden to once again demonstrate US support to Ukrainians.
The secretary of state called the accumulation of about 100,000 Russian soldiers near the borders of Ukraine “an unprecedented threat.”
Among Blinken’s tasks in Ukraine is to speak with Zelensky about the past week of intense diplomacy, as well as consult on his next steps, including a meeting on Friday, January 21, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“We have clearly expressed preference to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict and to ensure the de-escalation of the situation … We are doing everything we can do in this regard. In addition, we told Moscow clearly that if they choose aggression against Ukraine, then aggression will have serious consequences that will follow not only from the United States, but also from Europe and other countries of the world,” Blinken warns.
The Secretary of State stressed that meetings with Ukrainian politicians in Kiev on January 19 and with their European counterparts in Berlin on January 20 should ensure that the parties speak with one voice, take one position against Moscow.
“Russia’s goal is to sow division between our countries, we cannot allow them to do this. We must act together with you, strengthen our unity – it is most important at the moment, in particular, in the event of aggression from Russia,” Blinken said.
“Your visit is very important for us personally. This once again underlines the strong support of our independence, the sovereignty of the country by the United States,” Zelensky said.
Russia has been actively building up troops on the border with Ukraine for several months now. Against the background of talk about possibilities of all-out war Russia demands from NATO security guarantees, according to which the Alliance must refuse to join Ukraine and any military activities in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
On January 10-13, three rounds of negotiations were held on Russian claims regarding European security: negotiations between Russian and US delegations in Geneva, meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels and negotiations within the OSCE.
The negotiations were “difficult, but professional,” the RF said. According to their results, all participants announced disagreements in positions. Russia’s demands for non-expansion of NATO to the east were declared unacceptable, Moscow received a specific refusal to his veiled proposal to divide the world into new “spheres of influence”.
Read more about what Moscow is seeking and whether the West will make concessions to it, read in the articles Sergei Korsunsky «Putin’s ultimatum and Russia-US talks: will Ukraine be surrendered?” and Alexey Izhak «Will Putin withdraw troops from Ukraine after negotiations with the US?».