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U.S.’ Blinken Cancels Meeting with Lavrov, Says Russian Moves Are ‘Rejection of Diplomacy’

Washington had consulted with allies on the decision to cancel the talks, scheduled to take place in Europe, before informing Lavrov in a letter on Tuesday, Blinken said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacts after posing for a group picture during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 Nations at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022. Ina Fassbender/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacts after posing for a group picture during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 Nations at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022. Ina Fassbender/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday he had canceled a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov planned for Thursday after Moscow’s recognition of two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent entities.

Blinken said he had agreed to meet with Lavrov, his counterpart, only if Russia did not invade Ukraine.

“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 told reporters after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington.

Blinken said he was still committed to diplomacy “if Moscow’s approach changes” and would do anything he could “to avert an even worse-case scenario, an all-out assault on all of Ukraine, including its capital.”

“But we will not allow Russia to claim the pretense of diplomacy at the same time it accelerates its march down the path of conflict and war,” he added.

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