The US State Department said, on Tuesday, that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will visit Ukraine in the coming days amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia over a possible Russian invasion of the neighboring country.
Blinken will arrive in Kiev in the coming hours for a last-minute flight to show US support after diplomatic talks between Moscow and the West last week in Europe in which the two sides tried in vain to iron out differences over Ukraine and security issues.
These meetings have apparently fueled fears of a Russian invasion, and President Joe Biden’s administration has accused Moscow of setting up a “pseudo-science operation” to provide a pretext for intervention. Russia has strongly rejected this accusation.
From Kiev, Blinken travels to Berlin on Thursday to meet with his counterparts from Germany, Britain and France with whom he will discuss a possible response to any Russian military move. Russia has deployed about 100,000 soldiers with tanks and heavy weapons near the Ukrainian border in what many observers believe may be preparations for an invasion.
On Monday, the head of Russian diplomacy rejected US accusations that there was a pretext to invade Ukraine. Speaking to the press, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the US complaint as “complete misinformation”.
Lavrov reiterated that this week Russia expects to receive a response from the United States and its allies to Moscow’s request for binding guarantees that NATO will not include Ukraine and other former Soviet states or soldiers and weapons in their positions on its soil.
Washington and its allies vehemently rejected Moscow’s demands both in the bilateral negotiations in Geneva and at the NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels.
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