US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Russia had to choose between dialogue and confrontation ahead of talks in Geneva over escalating tensions over Ukraine.
“There is a path of dialogue and diplomacy to try to resolve some of these disagreements and avoid confrontation,” Blinken told DailyExpertNews’s “State of the Union” show.
“The other path is confrontation and huge consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine. We are about to test the proposition as to which path President Putin is willing to take.”
Vladimir Putin’s government has reportedly pooled tens of thousands of military troops along Russia’s border with Ukraine, pushing Washington into a Cold War-like stalemate.
Blinken warned that a positive outcome of the talks would depend in part on Russia’s willingness to withdraw from its aggressive stance, which he likened to “an atmosphere of escalation with a gun to Ukraine’s head”.
“So if we really want to make progress, we will have to see de-escalation, with Russia withdrawing from the threat it currently poses to Ukraine,” said top US Presidential diplomat Joe Biden.
On Sunday, Moscow ruled out any concessions in the much-anticipated talks, which will usher in a week of diplomacy in which Russian officials will meet with NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Kremlin, wary of NATO’s potential eastward expansion, has insisted that the group never grant membership to Ukraine, a former Soviet state pushing to join the transatlantic body.
Washington has also acknowledged that Moscow has expressed an interest in discussing the future of missile systems in Europe.
Blinken made the Sunday talk show rounds in which he addressed the need for dialogue.
He acknowledged that he did not expect any major breakthroughs in the negotiations, but stressed that Washington’s rival could face possible penalties if it does not engage in diplomacy.
Russia could have serious economic and financial consequences, “as well as that NATO should almost certainly strengthen its position near Russia and continue to provide aid to Ukraine,” he told ABC’s “This Week”.
“I’m not just saying this. We made it clear to the G7 (Group of Seven Leading Democracies) that there would be huge consequences. So were the partners and allies of the European Union and NATO.”
Earlier this month, Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington and its allies would react “decisively” if Russia invaded.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)