Blinken and Lavrov talk, agree to meet

19 January 2022

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone on Jan. 18, and agreed to meet in Geneva on Jan. 21. The meeting comes after last week’s three rounds of talks by the U.S., NATO, and OSCE with Russia in attempts to de-escalate tension in eastern Europe. During the call, Lavrov “urged the secretary of state not to replicate speculation about allegedly impending ‘Russian aggression,’” reported on Jan. 18 based on the Russian readout of the call.


Blinken is in Kyiv on Jan. 19 to meet President Zelensky and other officials before flying to Berlin for meetings with government officials on Jan. 20. The meetings will focus on assessments and consensus before the Geneva meeting with Lavrov.


James Hydzik: Before the negotiations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov had warned about attempts at stalling and endless talks from Ukraine’s allies. But after days of stalling by Russia, the Foreign Ministry is ready to meet again. While tensions are very high, this is likely to be a steady state for a short time.


Other forms of attack against Ukraine are in gear as well, with waves of bomb threats closing parts of Kyiv’s metro and forcing schools in Chernihiv and Mykolaiv oblasts to switch to online learning.

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