Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accepted an invitation to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with the conference likely to take place late next week in Europe, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday.
The meeting will take place "provided there is no further Russian invasion of Ukraine," Price clarified. "If they do invade in the coming days, it will make clear they were never serious about diplomacy."
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said there is evidence Russia is not, as the Kremlin has claimed, withdrawing its troops from the border with Ukraine, but rather "moving toward an imminent invasion." It is a "crucial moment," she added, and the goal of the United States is to "convey the gravity of the situation."
The U.S. began warning in January that Russia might use a false-flag operation to launch an invasion of Ukraine, and during an address before the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, Blinken shared several scenarios that might come up, such as the fabrication of a "so-called terrorist bombing inside Russia, invented discovery of a mass grave, a staged drone strike against civilians, or a fake, even a real attack using chemical weapons."