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US ready to engage in meaningful diplomacy with Russia -- top diplomat
The United States will engage in meaningful diplomacy with Russia if Moscow shows willingness to do the same, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with the BBC.
"It depends entirely on President Putin and on Russia. If they show any signs of being willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy, of course, we'll engage," he said, when asked about the prospects for resolving the situation around Ukraine diplomatically.
"We look to our Ukrainian partners too. They are talking to the Russians, but that's not producing anything," Blinken added.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories and the goal was to demilitarize and denazify the country. In response, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries announced sanctions on Russian individuals and entities.
The first round of Russian-Ukrainian talks was held in the Gomel region of Belarus on February 28. Russia's delegation was led by Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky. He said that the Russian delegation was prepared to hold talks with Ukraine until agreements were reached. The second round of talks took place in Belovezhskaya Pushcha in Belarus on March 3. Medinsky pointed out that the parties had managed to achieve significant progress, particularly making agreements on humanitarian corridors for civilians. The third round of negotiations is expected to be held in the coming days.
[Source: Tass, Washington, 05Mar22]
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