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Politics — New rounds of security diplomacy

In a new diplomatic effort to defuse tensions around Ukraine caused by Russia’s ongoing military buildup, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv today before traveling to Germany tomorrow, in the wake of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s visit to Moscow yesterday, and holding talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday. Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in the US, responding to US statements about the absence of de-escalation on the Ukrainian-Russian border, said “Russia is not going to attack anyone” and urged the US to stop its military aid to Ukraine and “use its influence on the Ukrainian authorities to convince them to stop sabotaging the Minsk agreements [on the conflict in eastern Ukraine]” in order to promote a diplomatic settlement. In other noteworthy mentions: • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by media as saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not a “realistic option” as Ukraine was a “powerful” country and “for Russia to take that step, it would need to revise the situation in the whole world and its own.” He added he planned to discuss the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. • CNN, citing the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s latest intelligence assessment, said Russia has “almost completed” its buildup of forces for offensive purposes, including 106,000 ground troops and an additional 21,000 in the “sea and air components.”
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