Has diplomacy on Ukraine reached a dead end?
The failure of the United States and Russia this week to find a diplomatic solution to fizzing tensions over Eastern European security has increased the chance of a new Russian attack on Ukraine even if full-scale war is far from inevitable, analysts say. - Even if Russia opted for military action, it may not come down to a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Putin could look to responses such as deploying Russian missiles in the separatist-controlled Donbass region of eastern Ukraine or Crimea, according to the prominent Russian security analyst Maxim Suchkov.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to hold talks in Geneva later amid mounting fears that Russia could be about to invade Ukraine. © Getty Images Some US politicians have called on President Biden airlift weapons to Ukrainian forces
On Thursday Mr Blinken warned Moscow of grave consequences if any of its forces crossed the border.
Russia has 100,000 troops at the border, but denies planning to invade.
President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Ukraine should never be allowed to join Nato.
He also wants the defensive alliance to abandon military activity in eastern Europe.
Ukraine conflict with Russia: US obviously consider emergency gas supplies to Europe
In Ukraine conflict, the US government for emergency gas supplies should have explored in Europe. Around one third of its gas needs, the EU relates to Russia. © Photo: Alexei Alexandrov / AP / DPA Ukraine Conflict In Ukraine Conflict with Russia , the US government has insiders explored emergency plans for gas supplies to Europe with energy companies.
Tensions over Ukraine
- EXPLAINED: Is Russia preparing to invade Ukraine?
- FROM KYIV: Ukrainians wait as Russia faces off with the West
- FROM BRUSSELS: EU 'closest to war' in decades over Russia-Ukraine crisis
- UK SUPPORT: UK says it is sending weapons to defend Ukraine
The summit between the top US and Russian diplomats follows moves by Mr Blinken to shore up support among US allies for sanctions against Mr Putin's regime.
Following discussions in Berlin with British, French and German officials, Mr Blinken said on Thursday that allowing a Russian incursion into Ukraine would "drag us all back to a much more dangerous and unstable time, when this continent, and this city, were divided in two... with the threat of all-out war hanging over everyone's heads".
tensions in Ukraine conflict: Kremlin throws the US "false allegations" before
Putin's speakers expects evidence for allegations, Russia tarnish a raid on Ukraine. Also with the recent hacker attack Moscow has nothing to do. © Photo: Mikhail Metzel / Pool Sputnik Kremlin / AP / DPA The Russian Government of President Vladimir Putin reacts irritably to the allegations from the USA. The Kremlin has accused the US in the face of the tensions around Ukraine "False Allegations" against Russia and the spread of lies.
State Department officials have said that Mr Blinken will seek to offer Mr Lavrov a "diplomatic off-ramp" to ease tensions.
Speaking alongside Mr Blinken, Germany's new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pledged immediate action against any Russian invasion and did not rule out imposing measures that "could have economic consequences for ourselves".
The UK's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has also called on Mr Putin to "desist and step back from Ukraine before he makes a massive strategic mistake" that would lead to terrible loss of life.
During a speech on Friday in Sydney, she urged Western powers to "step up" and warned that autocratic nations were being "emboldened in a way we haven't seen since the cold war". © BBC
The stakes for these talks are huge but there is little expectation they will produce a breakthrough to defuse the stand-off.
The Americans want to talk about avoiding war in Ukraine. The Russians want to talk about their demands for Nato to step back and allow Moscow to establish a new sphere of influence across Eastern Europe.
Kiev: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock secures Ukraine in conflict with Russia Support to
in the midst of the conflict between Russia and NATO Foreign Minister Baerbock traveled to Kiev. At the press conference she secured Diplomatic support to Ukraine. © Janine Schmitz / photothek.de / Imago Images / Photothek When visiting Ukraine , Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has struck a sharp tone towards the Russian government. Any aggression from Russia has "a high price," Baerbock said in Kiev , "economically, politically and strategically".
And all the while, the build-up of Russian troops and equipment continues, Ukrainian forces are holding their own exercises and some western powers are providing them with military assistance.
And yet US officials describe the talks as a good opportunity, to share concerns and find common ground. The Russians have agreed to come, having previously suggested diplomacy was at a dead end.
Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov both seem to agree they have much to discuss. And talking - for now - is not being accompanied by any fighting.
Mr Blinken's comments come after US President Joe Biden on Wednesday predicted that Russia "will move in" on Ukraine and warned of a "disaster for Russia".
But he also appeared to suggest that a "minor incursion" could attract a weaker response from the US and its allies.
US envoy flies to Europe as Ukraine tensions rise
Russia denies any plan to attack Ukraine but tensions are high as troops mass near the border.Mr Blinken will hold discussions with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, before meeting with his British, French and German counterparts in Berlin.
The message provoked a rebuke from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who tweeted: "There are no minor incursions. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."
Mr Blinken sought to clarity the comments on Thursday, reiterating that any Russian interference in Ukraine would be met with a "swift, severe and united response" from the US and its allies.
Russian and UK defence ministers to meet over Ukraine
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has accepted an invitation to meet British counterpart Ben Wallace over the Ukraine crisis, a senior UK defence source said Saturday, as concerns grow over an imminent invasion. "Given the last defence bilateral between our two countries took place in London in 2013, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has offered to meet in Moscow instead," added the source."The Defence Secretary is glad that Russia has accepted the invitation to talk with his counterpart," the source said.
Mr Biden is also facing increasing calls from across the US political spectrum to take pre-emptive action against Russia.
On Wednesday, the senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called for "sanctions against Putin now," while the Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal has urged administration officials to begin "a massive airlift of … lethal weapons" to Ukrainian forces.
On Thursday the US also warned that Russian intelligence officers have been recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to step in as a provisional government and cooperate with an occupying Russian force in the event of an invasion.
The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two current Ukrainian members of parliament and two former government officials accused of being part of the plot.
"Russia has directed its intelligence services to recruit current and former Ukrainian government officials to prepare to take over the government of Ukraine and to control Ukraine's critical infrastructure with an occupying Russian force," a Treasury Department spokesperson said.
The Battle for the Future of the West .
The real prize in Ukraine is the end of American influence in Europe.For so long, many people in Europe, including the U.K., have comforted themselves with platitudes that “hard power” no longer matters, that spheres of influence are outdated, and, even, that geopolitics itself has become somewhat passé. Then Russia sent 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. Suddenly playtime was over and once again the future security of Europe was being decided by someone else, somewhere else.