Blinken says meeting with Lavrov is off after Russia moves on Ukraine

“Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time,” Blinken said. “I consulted with our allies and partners – all agree.”

Blinken’s announcement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent and announced he would deploy “peacekeeping” forces there. US President Joe Biden and top US officials said Tuesday that Putin’s moves marked the beginning of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Biden announced a first tranche of sanctions in response.

Blinken said he sent a letter to Lavrov on Tuesday to inform him of the decision.

He said the US remains committed to diplomacy “if Russia is prepared to take demonstrable steps to provide the international community with any degree of confidence it’s serious about deescalating and finding a diplomatic solution.”

Now their meeting is off, a cancellation that signals the Biden administration no longer believes that Russia is at all serious about pursuing diplomacy. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also announced his meeting with Lavrov that had been scheduled for Friday would no longer occur.

Blinken spoke at the State Department alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who also met with Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington on Tuesday.

This story is breaking and will be updated.


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