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Secretary of State cancels meeting with Russian Foreign Minister

"...The invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy," Blinken said.

Published: February 22, 2022 5:02pm

Updated: February 22, 2022 5:26pm

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced he no longer will meet this week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.

"Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time. I consulted with our allies and partners – all agree," Blinken told reporters at a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

The announcement comes as the latest sign that diplomacy may not be an option for Russia and the United States.

The Biden administration will persue diplomacy "if Russia is prepared to take demonstrable steps to provide the international community with any degree of confidence it's serious about deescalating and finding a diplomatic solution," Blinken said.

Blinken told reporters that he sent a letter to Lavrov on Tuesday to cancel the meeting. One day prior, Russian leader Vladimir Putin was condemned for recognizing the independence of two breakaway Ukrainian regions.

Reiterating comments from U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Greenfield to the Security Council, Blinken said: "President Putin has now torn to shreds the Minsk agreements, which sought to end the conflict in the Donbas agreement of Ukraine peacefully... President Putin himself essentially declared those agreements null and void."

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