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US Says Diplomatic Path Preferred to Resolve Russia-Ukraine Crisis


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he steps from his plane upon arrival to attend the meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) foreign ministers in Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 9, 2022.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the optimal resolution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis is a diplomatic one and that he expects to consult with his counterparts from France, Germany and Britain in the coming days.

“As you all know, we have been engaged in a two-track strategy where we have, on the one hand, been pursuing diplomacy — by far the preferable course, the responsible course — but at the same time building up strong deterrence to dissuade Russia from taking aggressive action,” Blinken told reporters traveling with him to Australia for a meeting of the so-called Quad countries.

The marathon of diplomacy continues Wednesday with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss traveling to Moscow, where she said she will make clear in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “that another Russian invasion of a sovereign state would bring massive consequences for all involved.”

“Russia has a choice here,” Truss said. “We strongly encourage them to engage, de-escalate and choose the path of diplomacy.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson follows Thursday with a trip to Poland to meet with leaders and British troops stationed in the NATO ally, and then on to Brussels for talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told reporters Wednesday that the efforts of European allies are having an effect.

“The situation remains tense, but under control,” he said. “Diplomacy is continuing to lower tensions.”

Pope Francis, speaking during his weekly audience at the Vatican, made his own appeal for peace.

“Let's continue to implore the God of peace so that the tensions and threats of war are overcome through a serious dialogue, so that this can contribute also to discussion in the Normandy format,” the pope said, referring to previous talks among Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine. “And let's not forget, war is insanity."

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday a resolution could take months.

“You must not underestimate the tension that surrounds the situation that we are living through, its unprecedented nature,” Macron said in Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “I do not believe this crisis can be solved thanks to a few hours of discussions.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a news briefing following their talks in Kyiv, Feb. 8, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a news briefing following their talks in Kyiv, Feb. 8, 2022.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday there were “seeds of reason” in proposals Macron made to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week. Peskov, however, rejected suggestions the crisis had been resolved, saying, “So far, we don’t see and feel the readiness of our Western counterparts to take our concerns into account.”

NATO has rejected Moscow’s demands that it end its expansion into eastern Europe nearest Russia and eliminate the possibility of Ukraine, a one-time Soviet republic, from joining NATO. The West says it is willing to negotiate over the positioning of missiles in eastern Europe and NATO troop maneuvers.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters