Blinken tells Lavrov US committed to ‘swift response’ to further aggression against Ukraine

Neither side was expecting a breakthrough on Russia's security demands
Originally Published: 21 JAN 22 07:17 ET
Updated: 21 JAN 22 07:39 ET

(CNN) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting in Geneva, Friday that Washington is committed to a “united, swift and severe response” if Moscow commits further aggression against Ukraine.

The two top diplomats ended their hour and a half bilateral meeting Friday, during which the US tried to convince Russia to de-escalate the situation at the Ukrainian border where Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops and shown signs of a potential invasion into Ukraine.

At a news conference following the meeting with Blinken, Lavrov said that the US had agreed to send written answers to all of Russia’s security demands.

Blinken will also hold a news conference following his meeting with Lavrov.

“We are, all of us, all equally committed to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to try to resolve our differences,” Blinken said Friday. “But we’re also committed, if that proves impossible and Russia decides to pursue aggression against Ukraine, to a united, swift and severe response.”

Both sides admitted before their talks that neither was expecting a breakthrough on Russia’s security demands, which the US and allies have deemed nonstarters.

Blinken reiterated he didn’t expect the US and Russia to resolve their differences in the meeting but said he hoped to keep a diplomatic path to addressing those issues open.

“We’re committed to walking that path and resolving our differences peacefully,” he said.

Blinken’s meeting with Lavrov on Friday followed his meetings in Berlin with his German, UK and French counterparts and Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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