US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russia on Tuesday to immediately de-escalate the situation near the Ukraine border, reiterating that there would be consequences if the former Soviet republic is invaded.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone call to follow up on the US’ written response to Russia’s security proposals.
“The Secretary urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders,” said Price.
Blinken reiterated Russia would face “swift and severe consequences” if Ukraine is invaded and called for a diplomatic path out of the months-long crisis.
He also voiced the willingness of the US to continue “a substantive exchange with Russia on mutual security concerns” together with its allies and partners.
“He further reiterated the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of all countries to determine their own foreign policy and alliances,” said Price.
Moscow is accused of amassing more than 100,000 troops on its western border with Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called such maneuvers military exercises and has rejected claims of a Russian invasion, but he has warned NATO against further expansion eastward.
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