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Ukrainian Prez, Blinken discuss security situation

Kiev, Jan 20 (IANS) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the security situation in and around Kiev during their meeting here.

According to Zelensky’s press service, the two on Wednesday exchanged their views on the ways of settlement of the situation within the existing negotiation formats and within other modalities of the political and diplomatic settlement, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We want to intensify the work of all negotiation formats and pave the way for the Normandy Summit,” the President said.

He informed Blinken that the ceasefire in the country’s conflict-hit region of Donbas is in force and no Ukrainian servicemen were killed this week.

The Ukrainian leader also said that his country needs US assistance to modernize its army and voiced his hope that the Washington would support Kiev’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations during the upcoming summit of the NATO in Madrid.

After his talks with Zelensky, Blinken tweeted that he updated the Ukrainian President “on our engagements with Russia last week and stressed there will be nothing about Ukraine, without Ukraine”.

“I applaud Ukraine’s commitment to a peaceful resolution and urge Russia to pursue diplomacy as the only way forward,” he added.

On January 10, the US and Russia held security talks in Geneva to discuss Ukraine, among other issues.

Recently, Ukraine, the USand some other Western countries have voiced concerns over the Russian military build-up along the Ukrainian borders, fearing that Russia is preparing for an attack.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia has no plans to attack Ukraine, and there was no reason to fear an escalation of tensions with Ukraine.

The Normandy format is a diplomatic group of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France designed to end the conflict in Donbas that has been underway since 2014.

Blinken arrived in Kiev earlier on Wednesday. He is scheduled to meet his German and Russian counterparts Annalena Baerbock and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, later this week.



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