Feb 22, 2022 - World

Blinken cancels meeting with Russian counterpart over Ukraine invasion

Blinken (foreground) with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Photo: Ina Fassbender/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced on Tuesday that he had canceled a planned meeting on Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov due to Russia's move into eastern Ukraine.

Why it matters: While Blinken said he remained "committed to diplomacy," the channels through which U.S. and European officials had hoped to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine are now closing. Blinken said it is now clear that President Vladimir Putin intended to invade all along.

What they're saying: "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, speaking alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He said he'd written to Lavrov to inform him of the decision.

  • "The United States and I personally remain committed to diplomacy if Russia is prepared to take demonstrable steps to provide the international community with any degree of confidence that it is serious about de-escalating and finding a diplomatic solution," Blinken added.
  • Kuleba welcomed words of support from around the world, but said it was actions that mattered now.
  • "The world must respond with all its economic might to punish Russia for the crimes it has already committed and ahead of the crimes it plans to commit," he said, welcoming the sanctions President Biden announced today.

What to watch: Asked if Ukraine had plans to evacuate areas in the east which Russia could soon invade, Kuleba said the government had only two plans: to use every possible tool to achieve peace, and if that fails, “to fight for every inch of our land, and every city and every village."

Go deeper: Live updates on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

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