U.S. Says Diplomacy Still Open to End Ukraine Standoff With Russia

(Removes garble in fourth bullet level)

HONOLULU/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – The US mentioned the diplomatic path remained open to finish a standoff with Moscow over Ukraine however mentioned the danger of Russian army motion was excessive sufficient to warrant pulling U.S. embassy workers out of Kyiv.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was talking after talks on Saturday with Japanese and South Korean counterparts, following Washington’s warning that Russia’s army, which has greater than 100,000 troops massed close to Ukraine, might invade at any second.

Moscow, which has repeatedly denied it plans to invade and mentioned it’s responding to aggression by NATO allies, has dismissed these warnings as “hysteria”.

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“The diplomatic path stays open. The way in which for Moscow to point out that it desires to pursue that path is easy. It ought to de-escalate, quite than escalate,” Blinken mentioned after his conferences within the U.S. Pacific archipelago of Hawaii.

In an hour-long name on Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden advised Russia’s Vladimir Putin that the West would reply decisively to any invasion of Ukraine, including such a step would produce widespread struggling and isolate Moscow.

Neither aspect mentioned there had been any breakthroughs. A senior Biden administration official mentioned the decision was skilled and substantive, however that there was no elementary change.

The Kremlin mentioned Putin advised Biden that Washington had didn’t take Russia’s principal issues under consideration and it had obtained no “substantial reply” on key parts of its safety calls for.

Washington ordered most of its embassy workers on Saturday to depart Ukraine instantly as a result of menace of an invasion.

“We ordered the departure of many of the Individuals nonetheless on the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. The danger of Russian army motion is excessive sufficient and the menace is imminent sufficient that that is the prudent factor to do,” Blinken mentioned in Honolulu.

A lot of Washington’s European allies and different nations have additionally been scaling again or evacuating workers from their Kyiv missions and have urged residents to depart or keep away from journey to Ukraine.

U.S. workers on the Organisation for Safety and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) started leaving by automotive from the rebel-held metropolis of Donetsk in east Ukraine on Sunday, a Reuters witness mentioned.

The OSCE conducts operations in Ukraine together with a civilian monitoring mission in Russian-backed, self-proclaimed separatist republics within the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, the place a conflict that erupted in 2014 has killed greater than 14,000 individuals.

Australia mentioned on Sunday it was evacuating its embassy in Kyiv and Prime Minister Scott Morrison known as on China to not stay “chillingly silent” on the disaster.

President Xi Jinping hosted Putin on the opening day of the Winter Olympics this month and the 2 declared a “no limits” partnership, backing one another over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate extra towards the West.

Putin is searching for safety ensures from the US and NATO that embody blocking Ukraine’s entry into NATO; refraining from missile deployments close to Russia’s borders; and scaling again NATO’s army infrastructure in Europe to 1997 ranges.

Washington regards lots of the proposals as non-starters however has pushed the Kremlin to debate them collectively with Washington and its European allies.

The White Home mentioned Biden was resulting from examine notes with French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday.

After Macron’s name with Putin, a French presidency official mentioned there have been no indications from what Putin advised Macron that Russia is making ready an offensive towards Ukraine.

“We’re however extraordinarily vigilant and alert to the Russian (army) posture with a view to keep away from the worst,” the French official mentioned.

Amid Western diplomatic efforts, British defence secretary Ben Wallace cautioned towards placing an excessive amount of hope in talks.

“It might be that he (Putin) simply switches off his tanks and all of us go dwelling however there’s a whiff of Munich within the air from some within the West,” Wallace advised the Sunday Instances of London, referring to a 1938 pact that gave Adolf Hitler land within the former Czechoslovakia as a part of a failed try to steer him to desert territorial growth.

“The worrying factor is that, regardless of the large quantity of elevated diplomacy, that army build-up has continued.” (This story has been refiled to take away garble in fourth bullet level)

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Honolulu, Anton Zverev in Donetsk, Lydia Kelly in Melbourne, Andrew MacAskill in London; Writing by Edmund Blair; Modifying by Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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