“We now see the invasion beginning and Russia has clearly demonstrated its rejection of foreign policy,” Blinken said at the State Department on Tuesday. “I have consulted with our allies and partners – they all agree.”
Blinken said he sent a letter to Lavrov on Tuesday informing him of the decision.
He said the United States remained diplomatically committed “if Russia is prepared to take provable steps to give the international community any degree of confidence that it is serious about adjusting and finding come up with a diplomatic solution.”
The top US diplomat proposed meeting with his Russian counterpart last week “to discuss steps that we can take to resolve this crisis without conflict”, Blinken said. at that time and accepted on the condition that Russia did not invade Ukraine.
Its cancellation shows that the Biden administration no longer believes that Russia is fully serious in its diplomatic pursuits. State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week, “If they do invade in the coming days, it will make it clear they have never been serious about diplomacy.”
“We will not allow Russia to feign diplomacy and accelerate its march down the path of conflict and war,” Blinken said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also announced that his meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov scheduled for Friday would no longer take place.
Blinken was speaking at the State Department alongside Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who also met Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington on Tuesday.
Kuleba said Ukraine has no plans to evacuate Mariupol and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine on Putin’s orders. He said his nation has two plans: diplomacy, and if that fails, fight in self-defense.
“Plan A is to use every diplomatic tool to deter Russia and prevent further escalation,” Kuleba said. “And if that fails, plan B is to fight for every inch of our land, in every city. and every village – fight until of course we win.”
Blinken said Putin’s remarks on Monday confirmed “his plan so far to invade Ukraine” and that Russia’s problems with NATO “never involved Ukraine and NATO,” adding that Putin’s real goal is “reconstruction of the Russian empire, or in short, the sphere of influence, or in short, complete neutrality of the countries surrounding Russia.”
“President Putin’s extremely disturbing speech yesterday, and his statements today, made it clear to the world how he views Ukraine: not a sovereign state. with the right to territorial integrity and independence, which is a creation of Russia, and therefore dependent on Russia,” Blinken said on Tuesday. “This is the biggest threat to security in Europe. Europe since World War II.”
This story was updated with additional details and comments on Tuesday.