Russia open to continue diplomacy amid Ukraine crisis

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Russia has said it will continue diplomatic talks with the West to defuse the security crisis in which it has amassed a significant force within walking distance of Ukraine.

On Monday, during a televised exchange between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the latter said: “there is always a chance” to reach an agreement with the West over Ukraine.

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He told Putin that exchanges with leaders in European capitals and Washington showed a substantial opening for progress to advance Russia’s goals.

Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, suggested that President Vladimir Putin continue talks with the West or Russian security needs amid tensions over Ukraine.

On Monday, the US declared that it would temporarily move its embassy in Kyiv to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, near the Polish border, in a “dramatic acceleration in the build-up of Russian forces”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would continue to push for a diplomatic solution.

“If Russia chooses to engage in goodwill, the route of diplomacy remains available. We look forward to returning our staff to the embassy as soon as conditions become favourable,” Blinken said.

President Joe Biden, who spoke to Putin over the weekend, said on the phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

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“The leaders discussed their recent diplomatic engagements with Ukraine and Russia,” the White House said in a statement describing the call.

For its part, the British government said Biden and Johnson “remains an important window for politics and for Russia to back down from its threats towards Ukraine.”

Russia has positioned more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders but denies planning to invade, accusing the West of sending a flurry of officials to Moscow and Kyiv of hysteria.

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