US-Russian talks scheduled after flareup in E. Ukraine

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to hold talks in Europe late next week – “provided there is no Russian invasion,” said Blinken, while Lavrov denied invasion plans and dismissed US warnings as “propaganda.” On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will also speak with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin by phone, at the request of the US side, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Also on Friday, President Joe Biden will speak with transatlantic leaders about the Russian troop buildup.

Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists blamed each other for what they said was shelling in violation of a cease-fire in the Donbas region Thursday. Both Kyiv and Moscow expressed concern about the apparent uptick in violence.


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