Blinken asks Russia to withdraw and get back to diplomacy. “The world will remember that commitment or the refusal to make it”

London, 17 Feb 2022 – In the day military offensive in Ukrainian territory started, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls Russia to show in deeds its commitment to diplomacy by withdrawing its troops from Ukrainian borders.

“There’s another choice than war that Russia can still make if there’s any truth to its claim that it’s committed to diplomacy- Blinken said – diplomacy is the only responsible way to resolve this crisis. An essential part of it is the implementation of the Minsk agreement”.

Let me make it simple: the Russian government announces today with no qualification, equivocation or deflection that will not invade Ukraine. State it clearly, state it plainly to the world and then demonstrate it by sending your troops, your tanks, your planes, back to their barracks and sending your diplomats to the negotiating table. The world will remember that commitment or the refusal to make it”.

Blinken also said he will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and that US will evaluate today’s Russian response to its security concerns. The letter was partly published, here is a quote that renders the idea of the overall unchanged position of the Kremlin:

“Ultimatum-like demands to withdraw troops from certain areas on the Russian territories accompanied by threats of tougher sanctions are unacceptable and undermine the prospects for reaching real agreements”, it reads.

Provocative as usual, Russia, which holds the presidency of the Security Council, accused Ukraine of refusing to implement Minsk agreement. “We think seven years on from the signing of Minsk agreement that is not in the plans of Ukraine neighbors to respect it”, deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said, “Yesterday the vice PM of Ukraine said there will be no new law on the special status of Donbass nor any direct agreement”.

“Another excuse here – Vershinin said  – is that Russia is not respecting Minsk Agreement and there’s no grounds for that as there’s no mention of Russia in the the text of Minsk agreement”, as evidence for this Vershinin mentioned “a judge of Ukraine constitutional proposing a criminal prosecution of those who participated in the making of Minsk Agreement (among whom former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko) wanted to challenge that in the agreement there are 20 obligation on Ukraine, 6 on OCSE and not a single one on Russia”.

In today’s Security Council’s session focused on Minsk agreement, Russia did not make any reference to its nearly 150.000 military forces deployed at Ukrainian borders. Meanwhile tension is rising further following the expulsion of deputy chief of mission of US embassy in Moscow Bart Gorman.