Secretary of State Blinken arrives in Ukraine for crunch talks on Russia tensions
Kyiv, Ukraine - Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Kyiv for talks on Wednesday, amid severe tensions and concerns that Ukraine's lingering conflict with Russia could be on the verge of heating up.
Blinken is to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
"This is a diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions surrounding the unprovoked Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders," he wrote on Twitter.
The US embassy in the Ukrainian capital released a video of the minister's arrival, who will then travel on to Berlin for talks scheduled for Thursday.
This Friday, Blinken also plans to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks in Geneva.
The US and NATO have been accusing Russia of planning an incursion into Ukraine for months. Russia denies this.
"We stress once again: Russia will not attack anyone," Moscow's embassy in Washington announced.
For its part, Russia accuses the US and its allies of arming Ukraine and other neighboring countries for years, fuelling the confrontation.
"We call for an end to the hysteria and not to continue to build tensions around the problem in the Donbass," read the statement.
Blinken stressed the importance of diplomacy in the current crisis, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Any discussion on European security must include NATO partners and allies in Europe, including Ukraine, he said.
Negotiations between the US and Russia in the NATO-Russia Council as well as in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week remained largely inconclusive.
Cover photo: IMAGO / SNA