who's blinken first?
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv Wednesday and warned that Russia could invade "on very short notice," Reuters reports.
In the meantime, Blinken said, the U.S. will continue encouraging Russia to remain on "the path of diplomacy and dialogue" rather than the "path of … confrontation and consequences."
During a panel discussion Wednesday, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said there "is no risk of a larger scale war to start to unfold in Europe or elsewhere."
"We do not want and will not take any action of aggressive character. We will not attack, strike, invade … Ukraine. It has been said dozens of times in recent weeks, and I just reconfirmed this," Ryabkov said.
His reassurances come only days after the U.S. reportedly received intelligence that Russia was planning a "false flag" operation to justify an invasion.
According to NPR, the Biden administration said Wednesday it would provide $200 million in military aid to Ukraine if Russia invades.
More extreme measures are on the table as well.
The New York Times reported Friday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had made a phone call to his Russian counterpart in which he threatened U.S. support for an anti-Russian insurgency within Ukraine.
"[I]f it turned into a Ukrainian insurgency, Putin should realize that after fighting insurgencies ourselves for two decades, we know how to arm, train and energize them," retired four-star U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis told the Times.
Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set to meet Friday in Geneva to discuss whether "there is a possible diplomatic off-ramp to this crisis," a State Department official said.
Previous talks between the U.S. and Russia have failed to reach a solution as each side refused to give in to the other's demands.