Blinken will be visiting Kyiv as part of a hastily organized trip to demonstrate U.S. support after inconclusive diplomatic negotiations between Moscow and West Europe last week, which failed to resolve the stark differences over Ukraine.
These meetings have actually increased fear of Russian invasion and the Biden administration accuses Russia of planning a false flag operation to be used as a pretext to intervene. Russia has rebuffed the accusation.
Blinken will leave Kyiv to travel to Berlin to meet his British, French, and German counterparts. They will discuss how to respond to any Russian military actions. Russia has gathered around 100,000 troops, including tanks and heavy weapons, on its soil close to the Ukrainian border. This is believed by many to be preparation for an invasion.
The State Department stated that Blinken's "travels and consultations" are part of diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions caused by Russia's military buildup and ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
The State Department stated that Blinken will meet Zelenskyy, Zelenskyy, and Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, on Wednesday to "reinforce the United States' commitment towards Ukraine's sovereignty & territorial integrity."
It stated that the trip was the result of extensive diplomacy between our European Allies, partners and about a united approach for addressing the threat Russia poses Ukraine and our joint efforts in encouraging it to choose diplomacy as a means to achieve security and stability.
Blinken spoke to Sergey Lavrov by telephone Tuesday, discussing the recent diplomatic talks and meetings. According to the State Department, Blinken stressed the need to continue a diplomatic path to deescalate tensions surrounding Russia-Ukraine and reiterated the "unshakeable U.S. commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty & territorial integrity."
Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, denied the U.S. claims that Russia was creating a pretext for invading Ukraine on Monday. He dismissed the U.S. claims as "total disinformation" and spoke to reporters.
Lavrov reiterated that Russia is expecting a written reply this week from the U.S., its allies to Moscow’s request for binding assurances that NATO will not accept Ukraine or other ex-Soviet countries or station its forces or weapons there.
Blinken stressed to Lavrov Tuesday that any discussion about European security must include NATO Allies, European Partners and Ukraine," the State Department stated.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov had stressed in the call with Blinken key elements of Russian draft documents. They envisaged "legally binding guarantees for Russia's security in accord with the principle of independence of security approved by all nations in the Euro-Atlantic." Washington was asked to respond quickly to the Russian proposals.
Washington and its allies strongly rejected Moscow's demands last week during Russia-U.S. talks in Geneva and the related NATO-Russia meeting at Brussels.
Friday's White House statement stated that U.S. intelligence officers had concluded that Russia had already sent operatives to rebel-controlled Ukraine to execute acts of sabotage and that they were now blaming Ukraine for creating a pretext to invade.
To emphasize support from Congress for Ukraine, a delegation comprised of U.S. senators visited Ukraine just before Blinken's visit in Kyiv.
"Our bipartisan congressional delegation sends a clear signal to the global community: The United States stands by our Ukrainian partners in defense of their sovereignty and face persistent Russian aggression," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (a New Hampshire Democrat).
Monday's visit to Kyiv saw Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister, warn that any further escalation will result in a heavy price for Russia -- political, economic and strategic. She also stressed the importance of continuing negotiations.
She said, "We are ready to have a serious dialog with Russia because diplomacy the only way to defuse the highly dangerous situation at this time."
After the death of the Moscow-friendly leader of Ukraine, Russia took the Crimean Peninsula. In 2014, Russia also supported the separatist insurgency against eastern Ukraine. In the eight-year conflict between Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine and Ukrainian forces in the country’s industrial heartland, Donbas, more than 14,000 people were killed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow would take unspecified military-technical steps if the West refuses to comply with its demands.