ANKARA 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba have discussed the Russia-Ukraine crisis over the phone, according to an official statement.

In a statement on Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “They discussed Russia’s military buildup along Ukraine’s borders and steps Ukraine and the United States are taking to encourage Russia to pursue diplomacy over war and ensure security and stability.”

Sharing with Kuleba his recent meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Blinken also reiterated “readiness to address mutual security concerns, the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Blinken also “made clear U.S. willingness, alongside our Allies and partners, to impose swift and severe consequences on Russia if it chooses to escalate,” said Price.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in the Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has also recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.

Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.

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