According to a US source, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday in the hopes of obtaining a “diplomatic off-ramp” to the Ukraine situation.
“Secretary Blinken is 100 percent dedicated to seeing if there is a diplomatic off-ramp here, and that is really the driving for this interaction with Foreign Minister Lavrov,” the person said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It’s really a chance for the United States to express our key issues with Russia and to explore where Russia and the United States can find common ground,” she added.
Blinken will go to Ukraine later Tuesday to offer his support as tens of thousands of Russian troops swarm on the country’s border.
He will next go to Berlin for four-way discussions on the issue with Britain, France, and Germany, as Western nations warn Russia of dire repercussions if it invades Ukraine.
The US official stated that Blinken agreed to the meetings with Lavrov over the phone, but that Russia may not be interested in a diplomatic solution.
“I believe it is still too early to tell if the Russian government is actually engaged in diplomacy, whether it is willing to talk sincerely and in good faith, or whether it will use negotiations as a pretext to say that diplomacy did not solve Moscow’s concerns.”
The official reiterated that the US is ready to invade if Russia decides to do so.
In addition to economic ramifications, she stated that if an invasion occurs, “we would give extra defense equipment to the Ukrainians.”
The diplomat also expressed concern over Russian incursions into Belarus, whose strongman Alexander Lukashenko is a close supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The fact that we are seeing this movement into Belarus certainly provides the Russians another route if they decide to take more military action against Ukraine,” the official added.
Belarus, which borders Ukraine, announced that Russian troops have come to conduct military preparation training.