Geneva: Top officials from the government's of the United States of America and Russia are meeting in Switzerland to discuss ways to end the prevailing tensions around Russian military build-up on Ukraine borders.
A week of fruitless meetings between the two sides accompanied rising concerns as neither Russia not the US agreed to back down from their respective stances on the matter.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Geneva for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following a swing through Europe to shore up U.S. allies' commitments to hit Russia with sanctions if it goes ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin, which denies plans to invade Ukraine, said it was 'aggrieved' over threats made by the US, including by President Joe Biden who on Wednesday, said Russia would 'pay dearly' if it chose military action, a Reuters report said. Russia says it could take unspecified military action if a list of demands are not met, including a promise from NATO never to admit Ukraine.
The US on the other hand has promised severe sanctions if Russia goes ahead with its suspected plans, including targeting a key oil pipeline that is one of Russia's main energy investments. Biden's comments have also raised controversy over a remark he made which seems to indicate leeway for Russia if it only makes a "minor incursion" into Ukraine, even as he assured Kyiv of US support.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted an apparent rebuke on Thursday, reminding "the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."
Blinken will now meet representatives from Germany and France today, who have also been Keeping an eye on the military build-up on Ukranian borders and who have also been involved in negotiation with Russia.