Russia reiterates its call for foreign troops to be withdrawn from Bulgaria and Romania

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland January 21 after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a meeting in Geneva on Friday that Washington is committed to a “common, swift and strong response” should Moscow carry out further aggression against Ukraine.

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

“We are all equally committed to the path of diplomacy and dialogue to try to resolve our differences,” Blinken said on Friday. “But we also commit to a united, swift and tough response if that proves impossible and Russia decides to continue its aggression against Ukraine.”

At a press conference after the Blinken meeting, Lavrov said the US had agreed to send written responses to all of Russia’s security demands.

Both sides admitted before their talks that neither expected a breakthrough on Russia’s security demands, which the US and its allies viewed as non-starters.

Blinken reiterated he does not expect the US and Russia to settle their differences at the meeting, but said he hopes to keep open a diplomatic avenue to resolve these issues.

“We are determined to walk this path and resolve our differences peacefully,” he said.

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

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