The talks between Anthony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm were supposed to help quieten the steady drumbeat of another possible war in Ukraine. Instead they ended after just 40 minutes amid accusations and recriminations, with no sign of a roadmap out of the escalating and incendiary crisis.
The Russian foreign minister warned of a conflict that would draw in other states and leave Europe facing the “nightmare of military confrontation”. Blinken’s response was that “the United States and our allies and partners are deeply concerned by evidence that Russia has made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine, including efforts to destabilise Ukraine from within and large-scale military operations”.
The Kremlin has proposed another summit, between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. Washington is said to be wary of the prospect of the Russian president using it to demand unacceptable conditions on the matter of Ukraine, in particular in respect of the country’s relationship with Nato and on broader western military cooperation.
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